When we are home, we have the luxury of being in a somewhat controlled environment. With the exception of those nasty little critters that sometimes invade in the form of bugs and vermin, we have last say as to what is and is not in our view at any given time. Once we leave the comfort of home, however, all this changes — but this can be a positive thing; an educational thing, as it were.
Outside of our home, for example, we can meet a real life tiny nutcracker, guarding an apartment building’s lawn. A person who has never had the chance to see The Nutcracker Suite performed can happen upon one like this. Our children may not even know what a nutcracker is if we are more used to buying them in bulk from Costco, already shelled.
Every week around trash time in my neighborhood, I have and reach the same conclusion when I see how many perfectly good and somewhat damaged items are left in the trash. I think to myself that a person could probably open a secondhand store with nothing but things recovered from the street. You could take things that are easily repairable or just in need of a touchup — the furniture above, for example.
What is this giant roll of paper looking thing? If I could have done so I would have taken it because… well, look at it! I have a four year old son at home, can you imagine how much fun he would have making enormous drawings on it? It can easily be recycled after his wonderful art is captured digitally. But here it was… in the trash bin of all places!
Another prime example of waste. Look at this beautiful wood that is now in a pile of garbage, unless someone managed to take it first. Can you imagine the furniture that could be made with this as a starting point? A few more like this and a person could make quite a few things.
Lastly — a sad note. We have to sometimes confront the fact that we who have a place to sleep at night are privileged to have it. Whenever we pass by someone on the street who is sleeping or begging, I tell Chaim in Romanian about how important it is to be thankful for what we have — and, more importantly, realize that we should not make judgement or assumptions about someone who is for the moment in that position. We cannot say with certainty that we know what happened to a person in their life that led them to be sleeping on the street or pleading with strangers for food.
I used to more frequently give food that I had on hand but had a rather unpleasant experience once when I gave an entire loaf of olive bread to an individual and his response was to say, “F you, Yehudi!” Yehudi is a Hebrew term meaning a Jewish person. He said this after asking if I had any money to give and I replied that the bread was all I had with me.
Another time, a person came up to me and told me that they were hungry. I offered them a meal replacement bar that I was planning on eating later. They said, “You don’t understand — I’m really hungry.” I replied, “Yes — and this is really food.” They ended up taking nothing, and I felt sad for the man who seemed to perhaps think that only coins or paper money were edible.