No More Shopping Carts

I had a bunch of groceries that I wasn’t going to eat, so I packed them up, got in my car, and found a homeless person on Rose Avenue in Venice. 

It did not take long.

It is easy to find people without homes…

They live on the outside.

This particular middle-aged man, about my age, was pushing a shopping cart down the street. 

It was overflowing with all of life’s luxuries; a few blankets, a tent, and some other indiscernible objects. 

I lowered my window and asked if he wanted some food.

Sure, he said. That would be great.

So, I put the car in park, got out, and handed him the bag. 

It was not lost on me that it was a Whole Foods bag, and this man would now be walking with groceries that totaled more than the entire contents of his shopping cart.

We looked at each other, and he thanked me. “God bless you.”

His large brown eyes conveyed warmth and sincerity.

He was present and gentle.

If I had met him at a business meeting, I would have wanted to strike up a conversation.

God bless you too, I offered.

We shared a knowing smile.

I see you.

As I drove off, I thought…

We may be born equal, but it does not stay that way for long.  

Why did I get a good family and opportunities?

Why does he get a shopping cart?

I usually avoid this train of thought because I know where it goes.

It leads to non-duality.

To see all of us as One.

And that leads to a place where we can no longer ignore Others.

Because we feel the connection.

And what good comes of that?

Do I invite him into my house?

Do I give him my clothes?

What about everyone else living on the outside?

Where does it stop?

Where do we draw the line with our compassion?
How giving can we allow ourselves to become?

Those who live with nothing do not live in fear of giving away what they have.

That is what we, who have so much more, need to reconcile.

And when we do,

When we finally have the courage to be fully human,

There will be no more houses built out of shopping carts.

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