“Sometimes violence is in the eyes of the beholder.”
This is a true story...
I had taken my friends dog to the
vet. As the dog and I were settling our account at the front desk, a young man
came through the front door. His hands
were cupped together, he was holding something. He looked to be in his twenties
and was obviously mentally ill. His long, dark hair was flying everywhere.
Dressed in rags, I had little doubt that he was homeless as
When he approached the desk I could
see he was holding a badly injured bird in his hands. He asked the ladies at the
desk if the vet would take care of the bird.
Whether it was because he was
mentally ill or poor or that it was true they didn’t take care of birds, they
sent him away with the injured bird in his hands.
As my own tears fell I thought the
world has it all backwards; it isn’t the violence caused by people who live with
mental illnesses that steals from society; it is the hardness of heart that sees
our humanity and turns away.
I don’t know what happened to the
bird or where the young man went, but I will never forget what compassion looks
like when it is cradled as a dying bird in the hands of a human being who is
mentally ill and homeless.
Peggy J. Symons Copyright