December 16, 2014

Will to Value

I love this place.

I love every person who comes through The Well doors to find some rest, food, help of some kind, transportation, a shower, a friend, a restroom, a couch to sit on to watch a movie, or just an outlet to vent.

The ReCycle Bin, where i spend most of my time around here, is beautiful. It’s running like an old machine, reassembled and dipped in oil, slowly but surely working the rust and kinks out of a broken community.

Sometimes it’s hard not to get upset with people who want to take more than they need. But who am I to tell someone who has nothing how much they need? Who am I to tell someone who’s constantly being stolen from and pushed around, that they shouldn't steal things they want, or keep more than the bare minimum? Who am I, one who has the privilege to decide that I have too much, and need to get rid of things, because I have piled up far more than I need, to tell someone that they shouldn't be selfish. What has this society taught them? That selfish people come out on top. The people who get the privilege to be acceptable in public without being criminalized and rejected are the ones who can literally buy into it.

Property equals respect. Attain property and you will be given respect. I can’t get mad when someone steals tools. I can’t get mad when someone builds a bicycle and then sells it for the money. It’s the cost of living, no matter what it’s spent on. Cigarettes, booze, food, a place to sleep for the night, bus fair. Our friends on the streets sell their own blood plasma on a weekly basis because it’s something that they already contain that is worth money. They don't have to acquire residency or a resume to get paid. It may be the most worth some people feel as far as the system allows- The fact that some entity is willing to pay money for something that is completely born of their own bodies. It might even be a source of satisfaction. What future could I possibly expect my brothers and sisters to see for themselves? God forbid, they lose their property, else they’ll be cast out, thrown in jail, rejected, viewed as flawed, less than human, blamed, chased from their own neighborhoods, unworthy of mercy.

No matter how difficult it can be sometimes, I know that what we are doing is important. Every conversation had, every bike built, every skill and grease towel shared is a lesson on how this community can be healed if we work together.

"Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world. But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also. And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree, so the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all. Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self. You are the way and the wayfarers. And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone. Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone."

-- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet