Lessons from Lent
--by Dobby, posted Apr 28, 2021
I'm coming off of a very interesting, eye opening and changing Lent.
Oh, I gave up the usual: chocolate and junk food. I also minimized news that was not positive and cut back severely on social media time.
I am committed to give up my prejudices about certain groups. In particular, towards the homeless and LGBTQ. The former was more ignorance and stereotypes, the latter...Ohhh boy, a whole lotta ignorance and just plain stupidity.
I credit Phyllis Cole-Dai's book, The Emptiness of Our Hands, with helping me see the wrongness of my thoughts. And I journeyed through Lent with that book. This book is a true account of Phyllis and her friend, James, spending Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday on the streets of Columbus, Oh, experiencing homelessness.
She went to be present to the people she met there...and their experiences are eye opening, and sobering.
The most shocking truth in their experience is how, when we ignore those living on the street…when we don’t “see” them…this is profoundly damaging to their body, mind, and spirit. What I mean by that is not looking at a homeless person as you pass by; not saying hello, not smiling...these little things have a huge negative impact...and seem to be the number one reason it's so difficult for the homeless to get out of their situation. They feel like nothing, ghosts, so what's the use? Simple acts of kindness soared their spirits just as profoundly.
The result of reading this book is I've resolved to not ignore others. Even if all I have to offer is a smile and a wave, that's what I'll do. I've also started supporting organizations that serve those wthout homes in my own city, including one that is working to develop a tiny house village for the homeless.