A couple weeks ago, I walked by a man in the street. I actually see him quite often in my neighbourhood. He’s always smiling and always has something nice to say to passerby – sometimes it’s a joke, sometimes it’s a compliment. He is also usually asking for help – a bit of change if you can spare it – and for this reason, people mostly ignore him. Some days, I just smile and some days, I give him a few coins. That day, I had a toonie in my pocket and as I was giving it to him, someone made a comment that stayed with me “You care too much. People take advantage of that.”
That comment got me to stop and think for a second. Do I care too much? Is it naive of me to think the best of people? My answer is no.
I live a privileged life. I am healthy, have a job that pays the bills and a strong support system around me full of people who love me. Many take those facts for granted but I have talked to enough people to know that these “privileges” are not just a given. For many, life is just one thread away from unraveling itself and being in a bad situation. The streets are full of real people who do not have a family to support them, who are dealing with mental health issues or had an accident and might not be able to work.
So yes – I care about people around me – family, friends and even complete strangers. But I’m not the only one! Everyday, I see other people who care too. Someone who just bought an extra sandwich for someone who needs it. Friends who volunteer and donate their time for a cause. People who care about the environment, human rights, marginalized people. There’s so many of us that care and that’s a good thing!
I don’t think it’s said enough these days – but if you are one of those people – thank you for caring! Yes – sometimes we might get burnt out because there is so much to be done. Yes – sometimes people may take advantage of our kindness and passion. Yes – we cannot change the world by ourselves but (I believe) we are so much better off than those pessimists who choose not to care at all or ignore the issues. We hope and we make a difference one smile, one small action at a time.
If we all care a little bit – then the world is already a better place so thank you friends and keep on caring!