I understand there's been a ruckus over someone pouring water on a homeless man outside a coffee house. This is a terrible thing to have happened. I wonder though about the real story, the one nobody has yet heard, amongst (or perhaps because of) all the shouting and the shaming. I glimpsed something here, but I do hope society will quieten down soon and listen for the heart of it - and maybe take the opportunity also to think about when they themselves have done seemingly wrong things, and how they would wish the world to respond to them.
To balance that story, I offer this one also : of how Pope Francis ordered abandoned umbrellas to be distributed to the homeless, and how the Vatican has installed showers and hairdressing facilities for the homeless. This is all beautiful, but what touched me most was a slight mention within the story of how Monsignor Krajewski got the idea for the showers after inviting a homeless man to dinner but the man declined because he "stunk". That's where the deepest beauty is : in that hospitality, and in that compassionate listening.
Recently I read a billboard which said, "don't take away people's dignity. It has no value to you but means everything to them." I understand the good intention of this sentiment, but I disagree with it. A person's dignity has great value to me. I want to live in a world where other people are dignified, kind, good, self-honouring. I know that the dignified person will not hurt me or those I love. And I know that the dignified person will work to make this world as beautiful as their own character.
I also want to live in a world where we are not so quick to strip others of their dignity. A woman stepping out of a car exposes too much? Don't photograph it for the world's newspapers. A couple forgets to turn the lights off during a rendevous? Don't watch them from across the street, film it, and put it on social media. A man gets into a watery altercation with a homeless man? Don't publicly shame him across the internet. Doing things like that suggests you yourself have no dignity. Why not avert your eyes from the lady's underwear ... cross the street and tell the people to turn off the lights ... approach the water-thrower and ask if you can help resolve the problem ... or yourself offer the kind of assistance to the homeless man that you say his assailant should have done.
Today's photograph was processed with a Kim Klassen texture.