What if you became invisible?

I am not going to lie, I shed a tear. Well a few throughout this video. It hits your emotional core. It makes you think what if that were me? Well at least that is what I thought. See I remember a time as a kid when we almost became homeless. My mom was sick and did not have a job, our house was foreclosed on, and we did not know what would happen next. In the end we never lived on the streets, or in a homeless shelter. My sister stayed with a family friend, my mom went into a nursing home, and I stayed with my grandma. So we were split up, but we had a place to live. I am saying all this because I should have compassion for the homeless, and yet I walk on by like many do.

Which maybe is why this video had such an emotional twist for me. It is a video I found on Fast Company about how we usually walk by the homeless. I have to admit with the magnitude of homeless individuals we have in Portland it is easy to walk by without noticing. Maybe it is because you never know if you can trust whether or not the panhandling is legitimate or not. This video, however, makes you look at it in a different way.

First, a bit of context. The New York City Recuse Mission set out to show folks the invisibility of homeless in New York. They approached a few individuals to pose as homeless people and then had them on the street as their family walked down that same street. Their family each walked by without recognizing them. It was all caught on video, and the family was later shown how they walk right past their loved ones. It is all part of their campaign: “Have the Homeless Become Invisible?” I love the idea. I could use my own waking up on interacting with the homeless in Portland.

What did you think? Any change of thought? A bit of a mind shift? What if that was you?

A makeover for him, a change of thought for me

Life is always full of surprises. At times there are moments that catch us off guard, and a shift happens in our thought. That happened to me after watching this video. A bit of background and some honest transparency. Portland has a high volume of homeless people. Over time it is very easy to be desensitized. After seeing individuals or families asking for money at many intersections you begin to stop seeing them, and honestly you begin to stop trusting that they really are homeless.

I remember living in a neighborhood in downtown Portland a few years ago. An elderly woman would always stand outside of Whole Foods and beg for money. She did not really look that homeless, more just old. She was persistent, and I began to wonder if she was really homeless. A long time later (after we moved to the burbs) I was talking with friends about that neighborhood, and this woman was discussed. A friend said they knew the older woman’s family, and she was not at all homeless. Does that explain the trust issue?

So when I saw this video transformation it brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me that regardless of trust, honesty, or our lot in life we are all still just people. We all still want to be loved, feel like we belong, and have a purpose. It has opened my thought to remember that regardless of what we have each been through, we all deserve to be treated with respect. We do not always know another’s story. While we do not always have to respond with money, we can respond with kindness, prayer, and maybe sometimes bring them food. I hope his transformation impacts you as much as it did me.