Strands of compassion

Posted: June 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

The web of compassion is complex. Not all of its strands are visible. 
As I take Haley to work I often pass a solitary walker on Delrose or Riverside Drive. He’s always wearing a reflective vest and always walking into traffic, a good practice on a two-lane road heavy with fast dump truck traffic and people hurrying toward downtown. 

When it’s convenient and safe, I pick him up. Usually he’s in transit between home on Delrose and Paul’s Riverside Mkt and Deli. 
This morning he came in to Paul’s while I was having my morning biscuit. As I was finishing my breakfast, he finished his and ask me for a ride home. When he got to the car he was carrying white gallon jugs tied up in a bunch, throwaways from the distilled water the deli uses in some of its equipment. 
“What are these for?” I was pulling into his driveway when I got around to asking. 
“I hope you don’t mind carrying them. I fill them with water for the homeless.”
“No, not at all. But how do you deliver them?” I had seen him carrying groceries home from Burlington and knew he couldn’t carry the filled jugs downtown, where homeless people congregate. 

“Oh, I give them to homeless people who pass on the road.” He gestured at the street in front of his house. “There seem to be more of them these days.”

Even with his transit limits, my friend has found a way to reclaim discarded plasticware and serve the most basic need of human beings that themselves are discarded by our society. 
The vaunted safety net of the 1980s never self-deployed, but individual human beings still cast out strands of compassion that snare their needy fellows and provide life-giving refreshment. 

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