They say that to err is to be human, but I think that more than that it is vulnerability from learning to live in our fragility (what we have done and left undone) that makes us human. We have and create so much pain trying to hide, fix or fall into the shame that often follows vulnerability.
Living in the Tenderloin, either on the streets for this week or in the condo where I spend most of my days, I see the homeless, hungry and addicted as the walking vulnerable in the streets. When I hear about the fear people express about my week living in the streets, I wonder if they are mistaking the vulnerability I see with danger.
Our world and our lives often directly contribute to the poverty and vulnerability of others. For example, in owning a condo, I am invested in the housing market rebounding and becoming even more unaffordable for others.
I don't know if there is a political solution for what seems to be a social problem. Sure, we need to urge politicians to create humane budgets that honor the vulnerable individuals we've promised to protect, we need to put our pocketbooks where our hearts are (donate now), we need to have individual interactions and not punish those with less for being grumpy and rightfully angry about their situations and we need to continue to pray for those things that seem beyond redemption.
There are simple solutions to some of these problems (not that they are easy to come by, but that we at least know how to solve them):
Homelessness is solved by housing;
Hunger is solved by eating;
Hopelessness is solved by hope;
Loneliness is solved by community and companionship;
Mistrust is solved by honesty.
Other issues require a step today followed by a step tomorrow but over time lead to something better than yesterday:
I pray that we become people who urge today to fix the things that are fixable if only we had the will and investment (read: money) to do so, who strive each day to become better at the things that we must work each day on, that we have compassion for/with those who may be marching circles around or away from their goal and to forgive ourselves when we expect ourselves to be anything other than vulnerable growing humans.
Location:Fools Court, Tenderloin, San Francisco