I’m sick of the wars, utterly sick of all of them. They happen abroad in a panoramic view involving thousands if not a million or more and right on USA soil on a greatly curtailed scale.
Sometimes they are big and sometimes they are small. The types that happen within families, I suppose, are small versions and can involve even just a few people.
My friend, Kate, knows about the latter type since she came home from work one day and found a teenage girl from two houses down the street from hers sitting on her porch waiting for Kate’s arrival.
The girl, barely known to Kate, said that she’d been kicked out of her home and had nowhere else to turn. So she asked Kate whether she could stay the night with Kate and, then, catch her school bus the next morning at her usual pick-up stop.
What are you supposed to do when confronted by such circumstances? Kate knew that it was a legal liability, but here’s this kid in desperate need. So Kate said, “Yes.”
She then fed the child dinner, gave her pajamas for sleep, homework help and an unused toothbrush. She gave her also bedding so that she could feel warmed throughout the night as the girl slept on Kate’s sofa.
The next night when Kate came home, the child was there again.
She said that she didn’t know where to turn other than to Kate. The situation was this:
When her right-wing Christian parents asked about whom was to be her date at a high school prom, she said that it was nobody since she was a lesbian. Then they told her to get out of the house the first night that Kate took her, the one where she stayed at Kate’s home for the first time.
The next day, the girl got off the bus and walked to her house. Her mother greeted her at the door and, barring entrance, told her that she was not welcomed there ever again.
So the girl, trembling and scared, asked whether she could pick up some of her belongings from her room, such as trophies from running well, some school books and clothes like underwear.
The mother responded, “No. Your father and I took all of your belongings to the town’s trash dump. Don’t come here again, you lesbian freak. We no longer have a daughter.”
She went onward to add:”There’s nothing of you in this home. Go away forever.” (… so much for Christian values.)
So she was back at Kate’s with nowhere else to go and terrified at the same time. … and she was fortunate to have a Kate-type person in her life, who set her up for another night of food and shelter.
Not every child is so fortunate:
Kate didn’t want to throw her starving and frightened into the street. So she, the next day, took time to make arrangements for a shelter for the child and mental health services since she’d been deeply traumatized by her parents. What else could Kate do — an abandonment of a child not hers? Could you ignore a youngster’s welfare?
Kate wasn’t about to let this neglect, desertion and rejection happen to her neighborly child. So she set up a plan for foster care, contacted the girl’s school’s guidance counselor and made sure that the child had basic provisions like underwear and other clothes for the weeks ahead. She shopped on her behalf.
She was maybe envisioning this sort of picture when she did so:
Yes, the girl and her parents warred, but Kate knew that her own personal inconvenience or even possible malignment for helping a lesbian girl was a “nothing” compared to poor outcomes that the child could suffer on the streets and left to her own resources.
She could be raped, be lured into prostitution as a means to feed herself, suffer cold and have no place to keep clean. She’d have insufficient food and no shelter from rain and snow pouring down on her head. She’d have no safe haven.
So Kate extended herself forward on the girl’s behalf. It’s sort of like this as the girl lost in a war against her parents:
“But that goes much further than a refusal to take part in war. It leads to this: it is better to suffer injustice than to commit injustice. It is from within man himself that victory must in the end be gained.” — www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1947/press.html
Kate had no moral choice despite legal liability of having the child in the home or helping her, despite any inconvenience for helping a lesbian, such as Kate being maligned or worse possible consequences. We, people like her and me, simply don’t abandon children. There is no “if, ands and buts.”
Lady Gaga takes over after they are placed. Raped as a teen and traumatized with PDSD, she couldn’t talk about the rape until around seven years later. So now she reaches out and brought lots of wrapped presents to a teen and young adult transgender, bi-sexual, gay and lesbian shelter around Christmas in 2016.
Lady Gaga says she has PTSD after being raped at 19 – BBC News
Dec 6, 2016 – Pop star Lady Gaga reveals she suffers from post-traumatic stress … she told the homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers …
Some of the gift recipients wept at such an outpouring of love since they had been so emotionally harmed from rejection and felt unlovable. How tragic!
Let’s all be Kate and Lady Gaga. How ARE we to treat others? Are we to simply leave children to the streets? What kind of people are we to do so?
What have we to lose in any major way by helping? … and what do these unwanted young people get in return? … They’re safe and can carry onward in life in a somewhat reasonable way.
Apparently the Christian parents of the abandoned girl that Kate helped forgot one of the basic tenets of Christianity, the Golden Rule, which states “do onto others as you would have them do unto you.” So we all have to stand-in and help these young people, act like surrogate parents, ourselves in their stead. If they can’t do what is right, we are obligated to step up to the plate and show care because it is terrible to let humans be ripped apart emotionally or otherwise.
This is especially the case with children. How can they be thrown away like garbage?
Moreover it doesn’t even matter if the shunning parents are Christian or not. After all, anyone who rejects children are wrongful devotees according to any religion’s basic covenants:
Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.: Mahabharata 5:1517
Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.: Matthew 7:12
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what which he desires for himself. Sunnah
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.: Udana Varga 5:18
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.: Talmud, Shabbat 31:a
Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.: Analects 15:23
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.: T’ai Shag Kan Ying P’ien
Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good: for itself. : Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5
(I, actually, feel sorry for the parents of these dismissed, spurned and rejected children due to the parents’ paucity of being. They are at severe risk for being diminished, stunted beings — never fully dead, but never fully alive. Never really good! Devoid of caring and empathy! Shirking their duties as parents and, I suppose, deplorable in some ways if they leave their kids to the streets!)
So thank goodness for strong role models like Kate and Lady Gaga teaching us another path besides the violence of war whether a large one far away or small in the household. We put our own inner selves, if through indifference or hatred, on the line if we avoid our deepest humanitarian inclinations to serve others.
By the by, the German atheists and agnostics were the most fearsome in protecting others during the war that broke up Yugoslavia. My USA Catholic Worker friend, who served as a human shield for Bosnians (leaving a wife and four kids at home) when Serbs were trying to gun them down, told me this. So let’s not dismiss them either, especially since they have no belief in an afterlife or rewards from God(s) for hard, scary tasks undertaken to help life forward.
So they don’t fit any religion, but can go all-out, too. So let’s not malign them, too, for their lack of faith. It’s deeply unworthy to do so, just as it is with people having other gender identities!
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” : Albert Einstein – (1879-1955) Physicist and Professor, Nobel Prize 1921
Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.