I’m afraid this post isn’t much like my previous ones. In any case, I hope you enjoy.
Three incredible things happened to me today.
They weren’t mindblowing – at least not in the sense that minds will blown over how profound and amazing it is.
But for me, these things touched me and showed me different sides of humanity, all within 4 hours.
Today in my Asia Pacific War class we watched an ABC documentary about the bombing of Hiroshima in World War II. There’s no question (at least there shouldn’t be) that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrendous. Of course there were political intricacies, but the fact of the matter was that civilians – mothers, father, sons, daughters- were killed, and for the course of an hour and a half I watched clips and pictures of haughtily posed politicians juxtaposed with those of nuclear warfare victims.
I saw, in a very short amount of time, real people with their skin melted off exposing their jaw, babies whose faces were so transformed they looked like grotesque plastic dolls, and living people with almost stone-like limbs (as far as I can tell through grainy black-and-white film) laying on stretchers, eyes vacant. It chilled my heart. It chilled my heart that there may be been a way to prevent that, but because of some political mishaps and directed agendas, it wasn’t prevented. It happened not just once, but twice. And I left class feeling like nothing good has ever come from history – that compassion doesn’t make stories, but brutality does.
Sometimes, on the street corner in front of the subway station, I would see a man holding a small newspaper, made of cheap newsprint. The title of the publication was “Outreach Connection”. My intuition told me that the purpose for the publication was to help those who had fallen into hard times. For about a year, I saw the same man, and every time I saw him I would tell myself, “Today I will stop and buy that newspaper from him.” But every time, I would look at my watch and decide that I simply didn’t have enough time, and that I really should head home and do my homework. Each time, I would look resolutely ahead and try not to meet his eye.
But today, I stopped and bought the magazine. It was only a dollar. I didn’t stay to chat, because I really was rushing home. On the way into the subway I glanced at the front page. I learned that the magazine is part of a small business venture, designed so that the vendors – the man on the street corner – can earn a weekly income. After watching that documentary, seeing that this publication, however small it may be, is dedicated to helping those who need help back to their feet, it struck me that however atrocious history may be, the present isn’t a disaster. However small the effort, it counts.
Earlier, I visited a resident at a senior’s home I was volunteering at. I asked her, “Have you ever been in love?”
“Mhm,” she nodded.
“What did it feel like?” I asked.
She paused what she was doing, and had the barest glimmer of a smile.
“I liked it.”