Yesterday I said to my hubby "It's not fair! I want to help everybody, all of them. All they need is a family, my heart is breaking!" as my eyes began to moisten and I thought I might break down and cry right there on the bus.
The elderly are struggling. They don't have any help, any family, are not shown any compassion or consideration. I was raised to respect the elderly and show them kindness, but others these days are raised to completely ignore them and have no remorse for their actions as they shove past a lady with a walker to get to the line up in a store. We must not let the elderly become invisible!
While my family and I were walking to the busses, an old man was trying to cross the street. It's a very long street to cross, roughly half a block. He was visibly struggling, with his crutches and mishaped legs. It looked as though he was having a difficult time just holding himself upright, as he slowly inched along bit by little bit. So my husband, tactful guy that he is, asked the man how he's doing today. "Oh, I'm in a lot of pain," he grumbled. "Would you like some help across the street?" hubby called back over his shoulder as we approached the busses, only to get a sharp and loud "No." And who can blame him? Once independant and capable, now seen as somebody to take pity on. I wouldn't have wanted help, either.
So we get to the busses meeting grounds and pull up a bench to await the arrival of our golden carriage (lol), and there sat another elderly man, drinking whisky from a brown paper LCBO bag. He looked even more frail than the other man, only much more capable of body. I quietly mentioned him to my husband only to be informed that he is seen everyday, he gets off the bus and walks to the LCBO, then comes back to the bus and gets off again at home. I don't imagine he can carry much more than that one bag everyday. He looks so lonely, he has so much sadness in his eyes. And I wonder, where is his wife? Does he have children? And I keep in mind that most of these people have lost their wives and husbands already, if they have children they probably are too busy with starting their own families, and all of their friends have likely passed on.
I wonder if he lives in an apartment by himself, or an old age home where the nurses fuss over his care physically but not so much the care of his heart. I imagine that most of them are on Ontario Works (the equivilent to welfare) but a lot of them no longer really qualify. I look at the 16 year olds hanging around the busses with their children smoking, drinking their Tim Hortons coffees. They've been there since 10:00 that morning and already it is after 4:00 pm and they are still there. One girls baby has no clothes on, only a diaper. Which is exactly how we saw them three days ago. These people are also on Ontario Works. They take advantage of it though, and in the worst ways. I know some of them personally, and they use that money for drugs and alcohol while they bunk in at other peoples houses and use the addresses of their friends. I know that all they need is family, too. Parents and Aunts and Uncles, somebody to look out for them and show them what love really means.
It's difficult to not get angry at these people, even though I know better. It's difficult because all around me I see people who are struggling for their lives. They need better medical care, but the medical professionals are just waiting for these people to die. Their age makes them "not worth the money/time" because they don't have long to be with us anyway. This outrages me! How is any one soul worth less than another? If these elderly beings were given proper care both medically and emotionally, I bet they would thrive. I wish I could take away their loneliness for them, put light back into their hearts and help them heal their wounds. I wish that I could be the close family that these young teenagers need, to show them that there is more in life that they can still acheive. And I want to save all those in between. The ones that you don't really see their pain, struggling through divorce, disease, loss, fear. I want to help those who are unhealthy. I want to help the children of the teenagers, show them that there are wonderful people in this world who truly give a damn.
There just isn't enough time. With so many causes, how do you choose? This is why I chose animal rights. My choices have an impact on the health of our entire population, the health of our environment, it shows compassion and love and understanding, being vegan can do a whole lot for the world. Can it save the world? No, only as a society fighting for our own causes can we do that. So I urge to please don't sit idle waiting for somebody or something better to come along. Don't waste your potential. Find a cause, put on your big girl/boy shoes, and yell. Yell for those you are helping, don't let them be ignored. There are terrible things all around you, now what are you going to do about it?
Wear your heart on your sleeve. Teach people a kinder way. Show people that breastfeeding is beautiful because babies have a right to their nourishment. Physical abuse in unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Bullying is deplorable behavior. Addiction is only a kind heart away from being conquered. Harrassment is NOT okay. Show them who are and what you want from the world. Expect it, go out and GET IT. Carry the groceries inside for your elderly neighbour, cut their lawn, make them a meal, then do the dishes for them. Show respect. Don't make excuses. Volunteer. Choose a cause, and fight. Fight until there is nothing left to fight for. People will listen, I know for a fact. Yes, I have created change in the world. You can, too. No matter how big or small, old or young, rich or poor, everybody can create positive change for somebody.