Compassion

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The days are darker and colder now. The leaves have fallen off the trees and the homeless lie shivering on pavements in the city.

I met a homeless man a few weeks ago. He cannot find a home because he owed rent arrears, he cannot see a GP because he does not have an address. He cannot get free health care and has to buy medicine, while being homeless.

I spoke to him and he had a broken ankle, he needed care. Since then he has been to hospital where his leg, now ulcerated, was being dressed with bandages.

Now it’s a few weeks later and I saw him again asking for spare change. I gave him some and asked him how his leg was. He loosened the bandages and I could smell it. The skin is grey and black and he pulled a bit of it off. He needed money to buy dressings and also to get a bed for the night and to see an emergency nurse.

I gave him enough money to do this. I cannot ignore it. He could lose his leg, he could get gangrene or septicemia.

He has problems, I see that, he may be an addict or have a drink problem. But how can I walk by?

How can this world lack compassion? How can we put people in a position where they cannot access health care, cannot sleep in a bed, cannot have dignity? And there are so many moreĀ  elderly, sick, people with mental health problems, refugees, the destitute, the outcasts of society in my country and across the world.

When did we decide not to be compassionate? To take money from the poorest to give to the richest?

There is a statistic… 80 men own as much wealth as half of the world’s population… That’s 80 to 3,500,000,000….

Is that fair?

Have compassion, don’t walk on the other side of the street. There but for the grace of god go I.