Today I have been feeling very down about certain things I’m dealing with in my personal life. But my woes were put into perspective by seeing some of humans’ most painful struggles.
My daughter didn’t know me
I showed a video to a group of elderly Jews. It was about Irena Sendler, a woman who saved many children’s lives during the Holocaust. As if her story isn’t crazy enough, it gets crazier when the reporter says that Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and lost to Al Gore.
These days way too much focus is put on the environment and even though somewhere in environmentalism, there is an intention of keeping the world healthy for humans, at the same time, humans are being forgotten. Wouldn’t it be assumed that a woman who put her life on the line over and over again (and was tortured terribly once she was caught) would be more important than a guy trying to stop “global warming”?
After the video ended, I said something about how crazy the whole thing is and one woman said, “No, it’s not crazy.” I looked over and saw tears in her eyes.
She told us that she is one of the mothers who gave her baby away with the hope of the child surviving. Her daughter was taken from her at six months of age. The woman ended up in a camp and was able to get her daughter back when she was almost two years old. “She didn’t know me,” she said.
I tried to ask her some questions about it but she cried and said she didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
The saddest sight
Are humans being forgotten? The Greater Vancouver Area’s population is totally green-happy. It also is home to Canada’s most expensive neighbourhoods and most horrible neighborhood, Main and Hastings. My uncle Avrum Rosensweig has an organization that works with homeless people in Toronto but when he came to Vancouver and walked our proud streets of Main and Hastings, he said they were worse than anything he’s ever seen in Toronto.
On the way home from work today, I was sitting on the bus. When we stopped at a bus stop, I could see a man in a lower place than I think I’ve ever seen anyone. When seeing this poor man, I thought to myself that he must have gotten lost in his stupor (I am assuming from drugs) and ended up in what, for him, is the “wrong” side of town. Living in Vancouver, you often see street people but it seems the the worst cases stay closer to home.
His hair was wild and he was wearing a long, worn-out leather (or plether) coat but what stood out more than anything was the drool running uncontrollably out his mouth which hung open. The saliva ran down his chin, hanging in the air, once in a while dripping all over his clothes, his coat and to the ground. Each step for this middle-aged man seemed like a struggle, taking strength and balance, both of which he did not have much of.
He tried to get on the bus from the back door. I felt very uncomfortable with the prospect of having to spend a few minutes in such a closed space with a man in such a sad state. But he stepped on, as people nervously moved away. The woman sitting next to me must have seen him struggling but had not gotten a full view of him. She stood up to offer him her seat. I was considering getting up too, not wanting to sit next to him, but didn’t want to hurt his feelings, if he was aware enough to understand my actions. So I stayed sitting, watching to see what would happen next.
Suddenly the woman, who’d tried to make eye contact with him to offer him her seat, saw him and turned around, giving me a look of, “Oh my God.”
The bus driver then stood up and yelled, “Sir, get off the bus. Please get off the bus. Yes, you, looking at me. Get off the bus.”
Sir? I almost would have laughed, if I wasn’t ready to cry.
The poor soul got off, staggering backwards off the steps. There was a release of tension though at the same time, we’d all just seen something we don’t see everyday. Human at our lowest.
That man is connected to me. He probably lives around Main and Hastings. I live not more than a 15 minute drive away. My life is interconnected with his, whether I want to acknowledge that or not. I almost feel, for some reason, like I am living off of him.
How is it that I can live my day-to-day life while either purposely and not, I am unaware of how many people are living at their lowest at those exact same moments?
Believe me, forget that I have my own things that I’m dealing with. At least at this moment, I don’t feel too badly for myself. I just don’t know if my life is somewhat of an embarrassment for my willingness to live it without trying to make more of a connection between it and the lives of those so much less fortunate than myself.
And it is a horror that we give more importance to a man who says that global warming is “the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced,” than a woman who saved lives.