As you know, I went to NYC this past weekend to visit my friend, taking the bus there and back.
The night that I left, my travel buddy and I were running late. That was legitimately one of the scariest moments ever; I thought I was going to be stranded in NYC. Ironically, although we made it at almost the exact time the bus was to have come, the bus was 30 minutes late. We (me + 2 travel buddies) ended up standing in the cold (and it was really cold) for a half hour. I admit I didn’t pack well: no puffy jacket, no pants, no gloves…Just a trench coat and dresses; I was standing in my pajamas which were not the warmest things to be wearing when it was around 30 degrees and windy at 1am.
Whilst standing there, freezing my bottom off, I was miserable, but somehow strangely grateful. Like any large city, New York has quite a few homeless people that I couldn’t help but notice during the three days I was there. Thanks to FYSOP, the community service program I participated in at the beginning of the school year, I no longer see the homeless as fixtures of cities, but as people who have stories, who are struggling, and deserve to be human.
The first night, as we walked through Herald Square, I noticed a woman sitting against a wall, head in her arms, holding a cardboard sign asking for a metro card. People were walking by her, as if she were invisible, and I honestly would have too, if it hadn’t been for FYSOP. It really bothered me that no one seemed to be paying attention…so I ran into the metro station and bought her a card. I really hope that it took her to a shelter or somewhere to get help. What really made me happy was that after I ran up to her, I saw another guy give her some money when I left…I hope that me giving her a metro card allowed others to find it in themselves to lend a hand to her or any one of the homeless they were bound to encounter.
The woman wasn’t the last homeless person I saw in NYC, and it made me really sad that I couldn’t help everyone that I saw. However, the experiences from this weekend have brought me to this post, which I hope may do a little good.
Standing, waiting for the bus in the freezing cold, I was thankful. I am thankful.
I am thankful that I knew that my coldness was temporary.
I am thankful that I knew I had a place to return to.
I am thankful that I know that I am not alone in the world.
I am thankful that over Thanksgiving vacation Fran and her family welcomed me into their home.
I am thankful that at BU I meet interesting people who are willing to have tough conversations.
I am thankful that I am able to return home for Christmas vacation.
And I am thankful that I know that there is something more to this life than what can be seen.
In this time of thanksgiving and holiday cheer, let’s not forget others, friends. Let us remember, in a society fueled by consumer capitalism, to have gratitude and to give thanks.
Blessings and peace this holiday season, friends!