But By the Grace Of…

So, this was how it felt.



It had taken long enough.

This year, when the doctor had asked those simple questions, it had been less easy to bluff.  This one had actually been watching.  That ready answer, flat and so used to snow balling these people, had actually been caught, called out, and paid attention to.  For once.  The doctor had ignored his answer, asked if he had a plan.  Silly question.  Of course he had a plan.  Since when had he not had one, was the real question.  Enduring the pain was a normal part of life for him.  Ignoring it until it became the annoying wet streaks on his face, shaking his body and tying his guts more tightly than his useless shoe laces.  This didn’t happen too much, anymore.  Mostly going past those tent towns they called encampments these days, feeling the despair of those human beings now denominated by a noun which, a decade ago, had still been an adjective.


No longer called homeless people, now, they were just called homeless.  Not people, merely things.  Things to be avoided, things that had wanted this fate.  Things that were “in their comfort zones.”


The doctor had been a sharp one, this time.  She had insisted.  As if she’d really wanted to know.  What was his plan, and did he have the tools at hand, ready to carry it out?  He’d been ‘there’ enough to know that this time, he’d better answer with ‘sincerity’ if he wanted to stay out of a pewter cage.  He couldn’t afford a gilded one.  He’d pretended to perk up, injecting some notes into the song he gave her about merely thinking about it, once in a while.  He admitted to the sadness, but who wouldn’t be sad in a world like this?  Happiness was a pill he couldn’t afford.

She’d put him on the pill, alright.  That bit of paper, to keep away the other bit of paper that would ensure his useful longevity.  Useful to those who liked working in funny farms, that is.  But by the grace of God and Mr. Spock, there go I.   So he took her paper, and he even filled the Rx.  Now, weeks later, the happy pills had begun to do the job she and her brother medics in the ‘healing’ professions had intended.

He no longer felt sad.

And now, he could even walk past the homeless people without crying, just like everyone else.

But it didn’t make the pain go away.

Stay safe,

and I hope we all find love, and good Health Care. -Shira Destinie

Action Items:

1.)  Share your thoughts on the importance of empathy, and how we Human Beings might start to build a more fully inclusive society for all of us, and how we can start to give a damn about each other.  2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses these thoughts. .


Click here to read, if you like:

Narrative and Prose Nonfiction,

Holistic High School Lessons,

Creative Commons License Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

60 thoughts on “But By the Grace Of…

  1. I realize this wasn’t necessarily the point of this post, but the two things that stood out to me was “homelessness” and doctors who actually “care”. Topics that I spend much time pondering about and trying to figure out what I can do to help. After working in the medical field years ago, I was bothered by the way I saw individuals w/out adequate insurance being treated. We look up to certain professional like physicians and teachers, people I believed went into these professions due to their passion. These days it seems to be no integrity or passion. The only motivation is a paycheck and there’s always a political aspect to some degree that seems to be more important than providing an actual service. My city is full of homeless camps everywhere. I get out and talk to some, but people assume negative reasons that led to the situation which is not always the case. My homelessness was mainly due to no one wanting to rent to me because of a recent felony. I wasn’t careless with money. My rent was paid on time, but because my kids were adults and no longer dependents, I didn’t qualify for the so called resources our city offered. This is all very frustrating and emotional but many people for various reasons can’t or won’t fight the system and follow through.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Thank you, 5thGen:
      This, actually, was exactly my point. Or, points, rather.

      I wanted to help people feel that pain of everything being about money and politics, and to understand that we need, especially our doctors, to care for each other as human beings, and to stop blaming the people experiencing homelessness for our own system that put the majority of them there.

      And yes, every last person, no matter what that person has or has not done, needs a safe, clean, private place to call home.

      No person should experience homelessness, and every last one of us should really care.

      And it should be good to care, not ‘abnormal’ or ill.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Thank you, I felt I may have been rambling, lol. I think of these issues often because of my experiences. The thing is, I push to move forward sometimes not knowing what drives me, but what about those who for whatever reason don’t have that drive & give up. I’m working on writing a piece but am having trouble w/ the structure. When I talk to others, it’s not that they don’t care, I think some simply feel hopeless. Thanks for understanding.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. No, you weren’t rambling at all. Have you tried outlining, for the structure? And I agree, many people do care, but I know so many smokers who act as if they just don’t, sneaking smokes by the windows of people they know to be allergic, even after promising not to. That does make me feel hopeless.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. Fair enough, sorry for the stupid question. When that happens to me, I usually try a MindMap, or just brainstorming other ways of structuring things, if that’s helpful at all?

              Liked by 3 people

  2. Message from Shira: to the smoking neighbors who have lyingly promised to stop smoking by my window, knowing that it comes in, and that I am allergic, please drop dead immediately, and come back in your next life, since you are reincarnationist, as a petite person of color allergic to smoke.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Shira, this is such a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching piece girlfriend. 😟 I can see how the doctor learned to become less empathetic, numb, and unfazed by a heartbreaking problem so many people experience and will experience day-to-day. When something is not someone’s problem, they easily remove themselves from feeling compassionate, and can easily look at someone suffering without feeling anything. Sadly, it has become more of a growing norm in society than we realize.

    People blame people for their unfortunate circumstances without knowing the how’s and whys of those circumstances. It’s always the victim’s fault as the self-righteous judge their condition prematurely and without merit. Those happy pills are homicidal pills. It gives the privileged an excuse to validate their uncaring and dysfunctional attitudes and conduct.

    Fortunately, I do see some, maybe not a lot of changes at the pace where we would like to see them, but some advocates in different professions are stepping up to the plate to help with a solution to a problem that seems unsolvable. This is another great soul-searching post, my dear Shira! 🤗 🙏🏽 🥰 👏🏽 There is still hope my dear!

    Liked by 5 people

        1. Noted, but not sure how to work it in to the book…

          (maybe as an example of some of the possible projects in Phase I to build empathy?)

          We definitely need poems, stories, songs, etc, linked explicitly to the Do Better Project as part of a larger plan to build connections…

          Liked by 4 people

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