Just the other day I entered the red line station, Chicago’s version of a subway, at State and Lake in the heart of downtown. I was on my somewhat daily commute to my artist’s studio when I was suddenly hit by a terrible stomach turning stench.
I walked further, then down another flight of stairs and unfortunately, the smell grew more and more foul. I thought, “effing Chicago winters. Surely a main sewage pipe has burst due to this insanely cold weather and who knows when that will be repaired!” As I travelled towards the center of the platform it hit me. That was no pipe …that was a person. This horrible odor that I thought could only be the result of an entire city block’s worth excrement was emanating from a singular human being. My heart instantly sank.
In torn, disheveled, and obviously soiled winter clothing this one man stumbled and shuffled towards the bench at platform’s center. He stood silently as people instinctively shielded their noses, stood up, and cleared the bench for him to sit down. Moments later, a lone person began to make loud rude comments about how a person could let themselves become so incredibly soiled. This is the city after all. But most of us, nearly a hundred people, stood in silence. I tried to say a small prayer for this man, to bathe him in light, knowing that what he really needed was to be bathed in water… and also in light, of course. Soon the train very merciful arrived and although I was able to go on with my day, I couldn’t help but think that this man’s day was not likely to get much better.
In the short ride one stop away, I had a moment to consider my blessings. Having my bank account cleared out by thieves recently, I can’t imagine how things would have worked out me if I didn’t have the support of my family.
I know that it isn’t much, but I just want to take a second to send prayers out for people all over the world who do not have a place to stay or enough to eat. I pray for their safety, their sanity and I pray that they find some sort of comfort. I am holding them in my heart and in my highest consciousness. I believe that every prayer counts. If you will, please join me in sending them light, love and healing. Wherever and whoever they may be.