Monday, June 09, 2014


Where Is Our Humanity?

So many of you have lost your humanity and your grace with these comments. Your judgments are horrible. Look in the mirror. Have you ever stopped to talk to any of the homeless people on the street? Do that sometime! I implore you. No two stories are the same, and no two people are alike.

We’re all human and we truly need to look out for each other, but so many times we don’t because of selfishness and greed. It’s a hard job, and so many fall through the cracks, but we are nothing if we don’t at least try to help those in need, if not just to offer a bit of comfort. If we listen and look closely, I believe there is something so innate that it lets us know when to help. Sadly, more often than not we don’t want to get involved and/or become shy, and let me not forget how terribly jaded we are. It’s time we step outside our comfort zone.

A life of unfortunate circumstance (homeless and possibly betrayed by mental illness) and another of fortunate circumstance (finding a safe haven every day) is as extreme as it gets in our society.  Never forget that homelessness doesn’t see race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc. It doesn’t discriminate. Your chances of winning a major lottery jackpot are difficult, but your chances of becoming homeless are easy.

I believe the many stories of homelessness are here to teach us lessons, and it’s all about improving the outcomes for all living things, and it begins in our own backyard. We must promise to do better.

Put your best foot forward before judging another human soul. For those who are unwilling to do just that, the rest of us will try to pick up the slack until you’re able to get your act together and join the masses in what I call "The Campaign to Good Health", and it begins with a "smile" and/or perhaps a "hello", and ends with "goodbye" and/or "thank you". There is better living through smiles and kind words. To what I trust are only a few, I beg you to think about the latter the next time you open your mouth and say something ugly. May you never be homeless or destitute. – paerki  (Reference: Gurnee Mayor Asks People Not To Give To Panhandlers)

A Life

What do you see? This photograph proves a picture is worth a thousand words, and maybe more. Recently, I was visiting the District of Columbia. I was walking out of the train station when my eyes became quickly fixed on this bright colored object. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking at, but as I got closer I soon realized it was an elderly black (either African-American or recent immigrant) woman draped in orange plastic bags, wearing a worn jacket, and her face was heavily painted with what appeared to be white pancake makeup. She had several bags with her (one she kept close by and the others were hidden in a bush).

Oddly, she looked to me like a performance artist with her slowly changing poses, captivating hand gestures and soft chants, which quickly manifested into violent confrontations. It didn’t take me long to realize she was no artist, but a victim of homelessness and of mental illness.

There was a statue next to her, and I hid behind it, curious to observe her actions more and listen in on her words. At times she appeared to be flying, and maybe she was from being overly medicated. Sadly, the latter would prove to be false. It was clear to me she suffers from Schizophrenia (on occasion having a blank vacant facial expression, appearing in deep thought without ever blinking, facial dyskinesias, sudden irritability and anger, with blatant hostility and hallucinations).

I heard her say (more than once), "Why did you leave me?"  I wondered who she was referring to – A husband? A friend? A child? It’s possible she was talking about herself, and questioning why her mental state eluded her. I will never know, but what I do know is she touched my heart, and she made me more thankful than ever for things I and most others (on occasion) take for granted; a warm bed, a hot meal, clean clothing, health, etc.

The real sadness here is the everyday people who look at her and wish she would just disappear. Common sense dictates that people often think this way because it requires them to question their input and output for humanity, and the role they play in the demise of others (make no mistake, our actions impact others – for the good and the bad).

One of the men in the picture stated, "She shouldn’t be here?" But where should she be? On my way back to the train station after a long day I saw her sitting in the same spot, on occasion laying her head on the ground. A large group of middle school students walked by her, and made several comments, with three standing out in my mind… "They need to get rid of her... She’s as old as my grandmother... I can’t stand seeing people like that." All are powerful negative statements, and if a child is thinking this way, I can only imagine what adults are saying.

Depending on what you read, it is estimated that 3.5 million Americans are homeless each year, and this number continues to grow as a result of tragic life occurrences (job loss, losing a loved one, divorce, family disputes, untreated mental illness, stress, physical abuse, disabilities, etc.). – paerki

What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.


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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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