Falling Through the Cracks

“Aw, you fell through the stairs and got hurt and no one was there to help you?” This, from Sophie, age 2.5. It’s the third time she has recounted the story and I can see the empathy and concern on her face. She pulls my sleeve down so that she can’t see the scrapes. This time, she adds a solution, “I need to find a friend for you!”

Sometimes you just need a little bit of sympathy. I found mine. I am awed and shamed by the compassion of a two year old and her sense of responsibility towards her fellow creatures. I wonder what happens to us along the way that we should find this so amazing, that we so easily ignore the pain of those around us, turn a blind eye to someone’s suffering.

Are we perhaps competing with each other, letting others fall by the wayside because then our chances of survival or success are better? Or is there just plain too much suffering around, too much need?

What if each of us took responsibility for those in our daily trajectory, the way Philip does with Tony, making it his mission to check up on him, advocate for him and give him a voice beyond his perch on Roncesvalles. Or the way Sarah does with the new family in our neighbourhood, taking on the challenge of helping them to integrate in spite of a language barrier. Imagine if everyone had mentors, advocates or friends who looked out for them. And what about the people who look like they don’t need any help at all?

Somehow, knowing that Sophie cares makes it all ok. I feel better knowing that she is watching out for me. Later that night, she began rocking herself to sleep chanting “I’m getting scared, I’m getting scared…” (Too much Hallow’een?) So I went into her room and did a little magic dance and hurled all the scary energies way up into the ether. Then I put up a little positive energy bubble to keep them away.

She may not beleive that I can do that, but maybe knowing that I care will help her to sleep a little better.

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