You do not see many obviously homeless people in Singapore. As I looked, I knew this was a rare example. What is a common sight in New York, Los Angeles, or London stood out in Singapore. The disheveled hair, clothes that needed to be discarded, and the desperate need for a shower painted a picture I have seen too many times. I know that there are some, myself included at times, that call out in condemnation. It is almost too easy.
“Look at that guy! He had sex with sin, he’s pregnant with evil. Oh, look! He’s having the baby – a Lie-Baby!” (Psalm 7.14)
In Singapore, people rarely throw anything away of value. Everything is used and consumed or recycled when its useful life is complete. While the tropical weather works in a homeless person’s favor, little else does. I do not think many see the individuals. In this case, I found myself looking away. I wanted to forget what I had seen. I wanted to ignore the thoughts rushing through my mind.
Have you ever imagined yourself homeless? If so, were you willing to look yourself in the mirror and see yourself for where you were?
I find it hard to look at someone homeless. The view is not difficult because of where they are; it is difficult because of the call I hear within to do something. I do not know what. In the end, the lack of knowing how to respond is my fear and guilt. There must be something! The homeless man and woman is my brother and sister. We are members of the same family.
I wake up this morning wondering. What could and should I do? I know what is off limits – condemnation and judgment. Increasing another’s burden or my own is never the answer. The answer, whatever it is, lies in striving to make a positive difference. In every day, in each moment, we have an opportunity to act and speak for good. I look in the mirror, realizing that everything starts with me, for you and me.