I was watching the news with my parents tonight, and one of the first stories they talked about was the recent chill that’s swept the Bay Area. What began as a weather report turned into a piece about the homeless, how they, broke and without shelter, spend their nights in whatever scraps of warm clothes they can find, covering themselves with tarp to hide from the wind and rain, barely surviving. An interviewed homeless man said that one of his friends died from the cold, and he himself is barely making ends meet. The shelters are out of space, and there’s scarcely enough donations to provide them all with even a sliver of a defense against the cold. And here I am, lying on a coach, covered in a blanket, realizing the first time this winter season how terrible some people have it. There’s hundreds, probably thousands,of homeless people out there right now, facing the weather we selfishly complain about every night, and it physically sickens me.
There’s two things I realized. First, we have to be so thankful for what we have, and though we don’t always realize how blessed we are, when we do we should just take a moment and be so humble and appreciative. We have cars. We have heaters. We have stupid hundred dollar shoes we don’t need. We have things that just don’t matter in the real world. They’re luxuries, and we view them as necessities. Family, education, friends, material items- they’re all things so many people don’t have and we do, and for that, I can never be thankful enough for living the life I do and having the opportunities I have. And I never will be, because regardless of what I think, I’ll never really understand what blessings I truly have; the best I can do is to be as grateful as I can be and to never take anything for granted. Secondly, we need to do something more. A coat drive, volunteering at the soup kitchen, some kind of fundraiser. Anything. Something that we can do to help just even a few people out during this winter, something to make their lives a little easier. I’m going to look into it, and there will be something I can do to make a difference, because I will not let myself to lull into a sense that everything’s grand, warm, and safe while others are suffering. Any work done, regardless of how large or small, may permanently alter someone in need’s life, and that chance is all any person should require to give back. Let’s do something good.