This is worth reading, I think:
“A homeless man gave me an apple. I didn’t deserve it.
During last year’s Dallas homeless count, I met Lawrence Salinas.”
In pursuit of fairness, we believe people should fundamentally get what they deserve. Then, we assume people like Lawrence must be paying a price for their personal failings. But the great lie of humanity is thinking we are alive because we deserve to be.
The truth is deservedness has nothing to do with it. Children don’t deserve to be born into their parents’ poor choices. People living with schizophrenia, depression, chemical dependency, bipolar and anxiety don’t deserve to be treated like second-class citizens simply because their disorders aren’t more acceptable, like cancer or heart disease.
I can almost believe that life is fair, that good things come of hard work and healthy choices, until I meet people like Lawrence. All people need a home, healthy food and care when they are sick. But fairness is a myth. So for people like me, compassion is a living response to the indignity we see around us.
I cannot cure poverty, any more than I can control the path of a storm. The only act I can control is compassion. It is a gift unearned. I did not deserve Lawrence’s last apple, but he gave it anyway.
People like Lawrence, whether they deserve it or not, need a community that lifts them up and knows their names. And our community needs people like Lawrence, who give out unearned apples.