I hate when people only talk to me when they find out that something tragic has just happened in my life. Get outta here with that. I’m grieving, I’m so heartbroken and you think you can come at me with that crap? I really don’t have time for it. I have surrounded myself with genuine people and you come out of nowhere trying to show the whole world that you care via Facebook? Where were you when I tried to talk to you about my tumor? Oh yea that’s right you were with that boy because him fighting with you over his jealousy issues are way more important than figuring out whether my tumor was cancerous. You definitely have a way of making me feel so unimportant and then trying to show the world that you care. Actions speak louder than words whether those words come through your mouth or through a text or through Facebook.
People Just Need Sympathy
I’ve often noticed that people complain about others posting their business all on social networking sites; crying, whining and complaining when they post. And I admit that I too am guilty of complaining about these types, and I’ve been hypocritical because I’ve ranted and raved about something in my life to my friends and followers, even if without major details.
But I’ve come to realize that as human beings some of us just want to vent, be heard and maybe get confirmation that someone else out there understands. And what better way to do that than to connect with the tons of people out there waiting to see what we have to say, what we
are doing, what we are thinking.
And let’s be honest, isn’t that the point of these social networking sites, To connect with others out there? And really, it’s that persons choice what they put out there for the world to see, what about themselves they choose to expose and share. We don’t have to agree, accept or take part in it. That’s a personal choice we have.
But some people just want sympathy. They want someone out there to just listen to what they’re saying, understand what’s being told. They just want other human beings to be compassionate.
- Love, Aero
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” (NLT Bible, Luke 15:4-6) When interpreting this Bible verse, the lost sheep represents the people of the world who have strayed from what is supposed to be “right” in life, such as druggies, thieves, and criminals. They also represent those who live their lives unjustly because of their suffering from hardships, such as people of poverty and homelessness. During my winter break, I spent five days and four nights helping the “man who went out of his way to find one lost sheep out of a hundred”—also known as God. While participating in a short-term mission with an organization called, “Action for Peace through Prayer and Aid,” in Washington DC, my eyes were opened to the heartbreaking lives of those living in poverty; oftentimes without a roof over their heads. While receiving the chance to serve food to the hungry, to be a friend to the lonely, and to put myself in the shoes of those suffering, I began to contemplate the temporary satisfaction of worldly desires and the enduring fulfillment of finding and changing the lives of “lost sheep.”
One of the first things I did on the mission was go to a homeless shelter not only to serve food, but to sing, perform, and most notably, talk one-to-one with the homeless. Upon entering the shelter, I was overwhelmed by the strong stench of cigarettes and alcohol. Honestly, I was afraid of these people. But soon enough, that fear was quickly overlapped by sympathy. It touched me to see how uplifted some of these people were despite being forced to live out on the streets every day. One man named Lawrence, with a smile formed ear to ear on his face, told me, “my life didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to be, but I’m thankful for people like you who reach out to help the less fortunate.” However, the majority of them had a very negative input in life. For instance, another man at the shelter told me, “I’m just so tired…so old. Sometimes, I just wanna give up.” This inclination to give up on life was the common attitude of those that sat around me at the shelter. I told all of them not to give up and I promised to keep them in my prayers. After leaving the place, I was depressed for them—I felt guilty for often taking my seemingly perfect life in comparison to the homeless’ discouraging lives for granted.
The next step in the mission was a bit more difficult—experiencing homelessness. What method motivates one to feel more compassion and empathy for another better than placing them in another’s shoes? That left me sitting on a park bench covered in pigeon feces feeling cold, hungry, and extremely lonely for three hours. But more importantly, as my stomach grumbled I imagined the ravenous stomachs of the homeless, as my body shivered in the unforgiving cold I thought of the bodies that have grown used to the shivering, and as I sat isolated; longing for someone to talk to, I empathized with those who lack companionship. Sadly, the homeless endure this twenty-four hours; seven days a week and I could barely survive three hours. Overall, the experience was quite depressing and I learned to be more thankful for my parents, who provide me with all that I need—especially a home.
Finally, my view on homelessness was completely changed when I heard the testimony of a very gifted jazz pianist and former homeless man named Billy. Truthfully, upon spotting a homeless person on the streets, I used to always think that they were lazy people with no talents or ambitions. Billy proved to me that that was only an insensitive stereotype. Billy met Reverend Choi, the founder of APPA while he was still living on the streets. Reverend Choi asked him, “What is your dream, Billy?” and Billy responded by saying two things, “I love playing the piano, but I don’t have a piano to play,” and, “I’ve always wanted to perform a concert in front of someone.” By the help of Reverend Choi, Billy’s two dreams came true. He was welcome at any time to come into APPA’s headquarters, The House of Peace, to play the piano whenever he wanted and he was able to play many concerts for a profit. Gradually, his savings began to add up and today he lives cozily in his very own house. Billy recalls the pains of losing two to three friends every year that freeze to death in the winter; thanking God each morning for allowing him to wake up in the morning, and is amazed by the way he overcame this to be the person he is today. Through Billy’s story, I was taught that everyone has the ability to elevate in life no matter how little they have and people like Reverend Choi can aid a suffering person with the start of one heartfelt conversation.
After walking out of the House of Peace, I felt relieved of always having the desire for more than enough of what I have and gained an incentive to give what I have to those who need it more. This great awakening of mine reminds me of this verse: “Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner” (NIV Bible, Leviticus 19:10a). Indeed, after talking with the homeless, placing myself in the shoes of the homeless, and discovering the story of how one overcame homelessness, I learned that I should give to those who are less-fortunate than I and give encouragement to the “sheep that have gone astray” in this world due to adversities. After all, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (NIV Bible, 2 Corinthians 8:9). In the same way, I must humble myself of any type of wealth, and give what I have to the “lost sheep” in order for them to find their way back.