I Hate the Sense of Hopelessness

by Sanctified Brother

The one thing I dislike about Manhattan is the permeating sense of hopelessness. I know “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere”: Frank Sinatra and Alicia Keys declare that convincingly. That’s not what I’m talking about, though. It’s the sense of hopelessness the destitute face right here in the land of plenty; the Big Apple. They can’t get a slice of the pie.

Imagine having less than everyone you see…

You stink. Your hair is a matted, disheveled mess. Your clothing is rancid tatters of filth…you’re frightening. You scare people away because your eyes—dilated and wild with fear and desperation—pierce them in places that make them uncomfortable.

Who’ll help you? And with what? And for how long?

Folks, visualize that person. Do you know where they’re sleeping tonight? Toss a coin: in the alley or in the abandoned building. Or on the park bench. Or behind your shed. On or the apartment roof. Or the school playground. The good Lord alone knows what they face. We worry about bed bugs in New York City. I bet they worry about rat bites, chiggers and nits, tetanus from rusty nails, junkyard dogs, “bums” they have beef with, and even somebody sneaking off with their tattered possessions while they sleep. Jesus.

Let’s say you put a few coins in their cup. Where will the spare change go? Really. You throw sixty-three cents of “feel good” chump change at them, holding your breath, then turn the corner and order food on Seamless.com on your iPad. What are they going to do with that pittance? Who’s going to let them in their bodega to touch the merchandise? What could they even buy with that: penny candy? The money is almost useless.

I can’t begin to imagine how uncomfortable and desperate these folks are—at least those of them still in their right mind. I can’t imagine how they feel when they see us dressed to kill on a train headed to work or a party, ready to spend money on selfish pleasures while they are dying daily from lack and want. I wonder what they think when their plea goes absolutely ignored. Have you seen it? People on the train will be filled with mirth and suddenly become quiet and disinterested when a homeless beggar comes aboard the train.

Read this: Matthew 25:31-46