Empathy: Why We Should Care

Location: 
Waikiki, Hawai'i
United States
US

As a society, why do we tend to ignore those in need? Why do so many of us act like we're on a (non- existent) phone call when we walk past a homeless person? So many of us fear of having no home to go to, so why do we ignore those who are going through that? Here in Hawai’i, this is an ongoing issue. According to www.endhomelessness.org, for every 10,000 individuals in Hawai'i, 46 are experiencing homelessness. This is due to reasons such as the price of living here, the use of drugs, not enough support for their physical health, and many more.

After all, living in Hawai’i does have quite the price tag.

On Saturday, October 12, 2019 I got the chance to feed the homeless in Waikiki, O'ahu. The Waikiki Beach Gathering held a event where it consisted of volunteers serving the homeless a three course meal with live entertainment. The night started off with washing their feet, giving them new shoes (Jesus slippers, of course), and getting to know each other. They got to eat catered in food (the brownies were the favorite of the night) while watching the sunset at the beach. During the event there was also worship music and time for prayer if they requested that. It was a beautiful and insightful night for everyone.

Whenever I think of the less fortunate, I think of holes in clothes and a shopping cart full of miscellaneous items. So I was the most surprised by the vast difference in appearance between all of them. There were a few who were dressed nicely and even had cell phones- I would have easily walked past them on the street and have no idea that they were experiencing this. Some were young, some were old. Some were quiet, some were talkative. One was even a vegetarian, which I have never even thought about their dietary needs. Each one of them has their own story and they deserve the same attention we give each other. 

Volunteering for this event was eye-opening to say the least. It was definitely a refreshing feeling as I haven’t given back to my community for some time now. Sometimes I become so wrapped up in my own problems that I forget other people are going through even bigger things. Giving back is great not only for those in need but for yourself; I always find that my heart and mind grows a little bigger. The best part is that you don't need to do something big to make a difference. You can make a difference with someone in your dorm hall, class, or just someone you pass by on the street. You can compliment them, help them with their work if you see them struggling in class, or just smile. There have been countless times where I was having a rough day and someone did the littlest thing for me and it was the highlight of my day. 

It was the most touching seeing how happy they were. They were laughing, smiling, and some were talking a mile a minute. After the event finished, and even for some as they were coming in, said thank you. Thank you for doing all of this, thank you for spending your time here. It really made me think about how I choose to spend my time and what I allow to be in it. 

We all have the power to change a person’s day. For the better, or for the worse. 

So, reader, I'm leaving you with something to think about: When was the last time you helped your community? And when will the next time be? As humans we hold an infinite power to help others... So let’s start using our gifts for the better and see where life takes us.