There are days when you heart and mind are filled with happy, joyous thoughts.
This is not one of them.
It is partly the weather; it is chilly, cloudy, and right now, raining. I have no room to complain, I’m safe and snug indoors. Yes, I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge. I know there are far too many in this world who don’t have those things and so, among all of my thoughts and emotions today is a feeling of guilt.
Please don’t misunderstand, this isn’t a journey in self pity. I have been on the other side of these walls. Withstood the weather, shivering so hard I thought bones would break. I have felt hunger and still dream of digging through garbage cans. I have felt the crawling desire to be clean, just for a day and so I walked in the rain and cried because I didn’t have soap.
I know what it means to be without hope. Without family, friends, or anyone at all who gave a damn.
I know what it means to sleep with fear.
Here I am. I survived despite my best efforts. I am inside, clean, dry, and fed. I have family who love me, despite my best efforts.
The things is… I know this is all an illusion which can disappear in a heartbeat.
This is something I am reminded of in reading the stories of others. Those who have loved and lost. Whose families and lives have been forever altered in ways which can never be repaired. There are the voices of the misguided, the lost, the discarded and I can see myself in each of them.
The afflicted, the abused, the lost ones who slipped through, what to them, are not just cracks but gaping chasms in society.
I read their stories and I can feel a shadow of the pain they deal with every day.
Yet is it just that, a shadow.
I cannot tell even one of them, I understand. I can I? How could I? I have not walked in their shoes nor traveled their path.
I am here, with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart wishing I could gather all of those hearts together and take their pain into myself for just a moment. To offer them even one, brief second of solstice.
More than this, I take this time to remember just how blessed I am and to not take anything, no matter how small, for granted.