Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homeless People Don't Have Icy Hot

The other day my daughter was experiencing some growing pains in her knees so I scrounged around in a drawer and found a tube of Icy Hot and gave her a little massage. We both remarked at the immediacy of the mint in the air. (I remarked a little more colorfully as I forgot I still had the ointment on my hands and rubbed my eyes.)

My daughter went to bed, still feeling sore but comforted by the small attention given, and I went back to my laundry folding. The news played numbly on the TV in front of me and I paid little attention until a story about homelessness came on and caught my watering eye.

It struck me that one of the loneliest things in the world must be to be alone, and sore, and have no one there to comfort you or give you a little attention. There's no Icy Hot in a drawer somewhere to provide even a little relief when you are homeless. That's got to feel so overwhelmingly sad, especially as people march along importantly every day, knowing you are there, and doing nothing.

I lingered only a few moments in that melancholy and then I had to cast the thought aside so I could stay focused on what keeps me busy. I'm one of those callous marchers. Then again, this morning, as images of Oklahoma seeped into my consciousness through the jabber of morning radio and the shock of front-pages I had to think about my absurd level of wealth and how I fail to appreciate it and share it.

One of the women in the photos I saw had a french pedicure - white tipped toenails - on the feet of a (newly) homeless person. And I thought how little it must matter to have pedicured feet when you have nowhere to rest your weariness.

I'm pretty sure I have two tubes of Icy Hot in my house - one of which I care so little about I can't remember what drawer or basket or shelf it's in amongst the many I have. What silliness it is to have such luxury, I think. I think that sometimes and then, too often, I forget.

I'm praying today for the people who have lost their homes - not just during a storm last night - but ever - and for whatever reason. I'm praying they find comfort and relief somewhere. And I'm praying I remember - if nothing else - to be thankful for my riches.

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