Flying Below the Radar — No Jet.

(Formerly titled My UnInvisible Friend) Part of my work, as Minister of Support is to promote the work of our bloggers which is where this story begins. One  of the TAObloggers, Jeff Clay, had finished his article, "Don't Touch My Jet"  and it was ready for me to do my part — curate. He needed one more thing to finish the blog, an image, and he, knew exactly where he would go to shoot this image. He found his shot, inserted the image and sent word it was ready to be released.

I opened his blog and started to read, "….the (super) rich continue to get richer and the poor? Well, they will just show up on your nearest mall exit or intersection island, sign in hand, but invisible."  I looked at the images he had taken and the middle one caught me by surprise. I know her. l picked up my phone and sent Jeff a text, "Jeff, I know this woman in the center shot. Her name is Judy. She is a friend. I'll begin the publication of your post shortly and with a great smile at the things that link us all together ... in my world."

 

Jeff responded, "Fascinating! Do you know her story?"

 

"I know some of it. I know some of her struggle to get disability. I know that somehow she is being penalized for a 401k from 15 years at 7/11, and that 401k is no where to be found and given her. She is open really. She works 6/7 days a week at that corner and has to fight for the spot where she "holds the sign". I know that she is disappointed in the "homeless news paper" she could sell because there is so little of the local plight written in it. I know she has been approved for disability federally but  not by the state and that the state trumps federal in these matters, so she can receive neither. I know the state turned her down because her Doctor had sent the wrong reports and only shared the report of her broken arm. I know that she would sell things where she stands, rather than simply ask for donations, but that she needs help to do so. Having an inventory fronted for the first time and then pay for it daily. And I know… she likes chocolate. I know that she is leery of lotions and creams because of allergies, and that many in her group feel the same. I know that every Sunday she shows up to help a delivery driver off load at a local shop, that he pays her cash and brings her hand warmers in the winter. She grew up around horses. Her eyes are powerfully light sky blue."

"Wow…you have just made her un-invisible."

"Btw (by the way in texting shorthand), the other two images were taken in NYC."

"Incredible."

Un-Invisible.

The above has stayed with me the entire month, as Judy herself has been present within me since we met more than a year ago, she was "holding the sign", and I was — "carrying groceries home". I went to her and we began a conversation we have continued sporadically since then. I enjoy her. She says things, or rather teaches me something every time we meet. One day, I was standing with her and a driver yelled some cruel expletive. Judy said to me "She doesn't know she is angry at herself, that's all. She thinks she's different from me." 

She is my teacher, whom when many drive or walk past is not seen, or seen from the view of "Whew, I'm glad that's not me." or "My hell, why don't those people get a job? Why should I give them my hard earned money?" These are the perches of separation through pity, relief, or superiority — all of them the same thing: judgment.  I have begun to see the line between me and thee grow thin, wobble, fade and blur. There is this movement now of Oneness and I have found a home to explore that we are all the same, that we share the same point of origin. My exploration in easy though, feeling blessed with home,  gifts, the relationships I experience. It is safe for me to explore this sense of "sameness" in the safety of these, but to live in that awareness when living on the street, sleeping in shelters, exposed to cruelties, violence -  this when I stand with Judy, is a powerful example of grace. 

I am grateful for my lessons, and profoundly so, for and to my teachers, all of them, from every walk, each one courageous even if they don't see it. I am grateful to Judy for affirming the truth of my heart in the truth of hers and for sharing her story with me, and her thoughts. I have learned, there are two kinds of poverty, and one is cloaked as the emperor's clothes, the poverty of thought.  And I have learned, that even the richest of us, can live their own lives of luxury, weighted in the mire of that deeper poverty. 

Thank you Judy, you have wakened an even deeper sense of wealth to my soul. 

 


Shelly Williams has been the Minister of Support, which includes Social Media, for four years at The Arts Organization. Her focus and growing passion at TAO MetaversityThe Academy of Innerdimensional Studies. She is a TAOblogger and has begun a series of blogs intimately focused on Divine Proportion; Excavating the Wealth of the Feminine.

 

Comments

Thanks for putting a coda on my "Don't Touch my Jet" piece. This really proves again the power of Knowing. Once you know someone, though they may remian a statistic to others, to the knower, they are a person, an individual, flesh and blood as we all are.

A rather horrendous quote is attributed to Josef Stalin: A million deaths are a statistic, one death is a tragedy. I have often thought of this quote and (unfortunately) so true it seems. Whether the battlefield dead, the school yard massacred, the homeless on corners, the impoverished in Africa, India or Mississippi, we become numbed by the numbers and it is not really until we know the ONE, that the count becomes more than an abstract.  

I've got a friend who is on the Downtown Alliance for Salt Lake City. He has lived in New York and other "full sized" cities around the world so I was intrigued to hear him mention, off-hand and as though it were well known, that Salt Lake's problem with homelessness (an oversimplification in terms) is far worse than any of those cities. Now I'm sure that the total number of folks living outside-but-not-for-fun is lower here than in other American cities, but we have a lot less city here. I don't know what the metric is, but I'm interested in the perception, and his explanation.

I asked why he thought is was worse here, fully expecting some statigic answer. 

"Because we ignore it here."

Well, Shelly, beautiful conversations like this one are making that less true by the day. 

Fantastically written and composed.

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