Monday, April 18, 2016

Profound Disappointment, aka Funk

Coming off a wonderful vacation (except for the last morning when a terrible truck collision occurred right at our campground, causing 1 fatality and several serious injuries), I was happy. 

I even was happy after speaking at Cardinal Gibbons HS in Ft. Lauderdale, where I had graduated almost 50 years (gulp!) previously. And I maintained my balanced and peaceful state of mind despite having to buy 2 new tires and get TillieToo TheTurtle’s alignment fixed--again--another story.

What set me off, gradually, was my pal Pat LaMarche’s post about her funk. It’s contagious, I guess:

so i spent the better part of my week off with Chad, relaxing and except for a little work via email and phone, letting my mind wander. yesterday, when our little five day run-away-from-home ended, chad asked me if i was happy.

i told him that i have a wonderful life and i'm the most fortunate person i know, but at times i'm profoundly sad. the difference between my life and the lives of the people i work with is such a stark one, it's hard to be as happy as i should be.

i grieve daily for one tragedy or another. and i stare at them all the time at work, and think of them when i'm not working.
my buddist therapist of yore would have told me to shed the sadness, it's not every enlightened of me. oh anurag, i miss talking to you. i guess i'll go buy his book.

Well, that just added to my discontent. I had been driving around the richest county in Florida, Palm Beach. I bounced between ultra-rich and ultra-poor. I shook my head at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial where homeless people slept under “his” gaze. 

I drove along the famed A1A, by estates hidden by hedges and fences. I bristled at the mega mansions and high-end high-rises that blocked my view of the ocean. 

I wove through narrow streets on the other side of the tracks that reflected the polar opposite of the beach drive. I saw despair on the faces of workers waiting for the bus. I saw exhausted defiance in the eyes of those holding signs on the street corner across from Trump’s colossal establishment.

The clincher, though, was going to Our Lord’s Place UMC. John, the director of St. Ann’s Place, suggested I stop by OLP because they were holding their homelessness Sleep Out. I’d suspect this church is one of the wealthiest UMC I’ve seen. 

And they’re into this event. I wandered around, noticing that they at least seemed to have invited a few homeless adults. But the event had the feeling of a carnival on steroids. Card tricks, entertainment, auction...all the things that will raise money. And I suspect the money will be well used. But...

But this county has no emergency shelter. So, weather being what it is, other perils being what they are, hundreds? thousands? of homeless people have no place to sleep in one of the wealthiest counties in America. 

It’s not tricky to explain my funk. It reflects Pat’s. My life is wonderful. Comfortable. And I know so many more who have nothing. 

I’m grateful for those who do what they can do to alleviate the sufferings of kids and adults without homes. I just wish the contrast wasn’t skyrocketing so much. 

And that those who have so much would join those of us who are trying to ease the abject discomfort of homelessness. And that Congress would buy a clue and get HUD to revamp their policies...and...yeah...funk.