A young man is motionless, sitting on a bench, his head down to his knees, not caring about the people passing by. He is not begging. He has not a cardboard sign telling he needs money to eat. He doesn’t speak. He’s the image of exhaustion and despair. Something terrible must be happening to him. A situation he won’t want to face.
I want to help him, sit on the bench by his side, and ask him what’s the matter, how can I help. But I’m afraid. He is young and big. I’m disabled and weak, and I don’t know if he wants to be disturbed. Or if he’s drunk or high on drugs or who knows what. So I let him alone with his thoughts and pass along doing nothing.
What kind of person am I? I used to take risks without fear, but now I’m afraid of everything.
I like to think that I’m a charitable person. I cooperate with some NGOs and give money to the parish for the poor. I help with what I can. But I think I can be more generous with my time.
How different it’s to let others do good things with your money than work with your hands helping actual people. Nevertheless, I feel more comfortable doing that under the umbrella of an organisation, with the help of other people like me wanting to make a difference, like my parish or Caritas, than go by myself trying to fix the problems of the people I find on the streets, when I don’t see chances of success.