We catch them out of the corner of our eyes, standing or sleeping on pavements, trying to catch our attention for food or favor. Yet we continue to avert our gaze -- a habit that one little boy hadn't picked up yet.
When we are young most of our parents or guardians protect us from the sorrow and heartache within our society. However, the dark parts of existence can not be hidden away forever.
So, when we eventually witness a stray puppy, a mother howling in grief, or a grubby man on a street corner, our hearts immediately burst with pain, followed by the urge to help.
Josiah Duncan with a homeless man in a Waffle House. │Source: facebook.com/KTREnews
Nevertheless, as we grow older and the images on television and begging hands in reality become more common, we slowly become desensitized -- sometimes even taught to fear and avoid the desperate and downtrodden.
This journey from innocence to numbness is precisely why, in 2015, a homeless man was unassisted by his fellow diners, with no waiter in sight.
THROUGH PURE EYES
It's also why one 5-year-old boy couldn't bear to witness his silent agony and hunger; he had to do something to help his fellow human being.
He insisted on singing a prayer for the destitute man.
Spotting the disheveled man at a Waffle House in Prattville, Alabama, Josiah Duncan asked his mother Ava Faulk a hundred questions, taken aback by what he was witnessing.
SERVED WITH LOVE
"Josiah jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu because you can't order without one."
The homeless individual was shy at first, not wanting to accept too big of a meal, but Josiah insisted that he order whatever he desired.
BREAKING THROUGH OUR BARRIERS
However, this boy's gift went beyond a physical offering as he insisted on singing a prayer for the destitute man while all the diners looked on, tearing up. Faulk recalled:
"The man cried. I cried. Everybody cried."
The magic of music can push past all our armor back to the natural kindness we once felt as children -- reminding us of how fulfilling it is to help and feel for those in need.
LEARNING TO TRUST AGAIN
Of course, it is unfair to say that all adults have lost touch with their inner child. One woman helped a homeless vet, who was ignored by those walking by.
John Lochlan from Philadelphia spent his days in a wheelchair on the street corner in complete agony. He had suffered injuries from being shot and then hit by a vehicle.
Fortunately, the founder of the Dignity Project, Lolly Galvin, was determined to help him. Initially, he resisted as he had become suspicious of people, but his walls slowly began crumbling down.
From thereon, Galvin assisted Lochlan, helping him treat his injuries, get the back surgery he needed, and rehab to help him walk again -- eventually managing to do so around the nursing home.
This healing journey restored the previously closed-up veteran's faith in humanity. Not only can our charitable actions assist those in need, such as Lochlan, but they can also help us find true purpose beyond our hardened hearts.