15 March 2012

Poverty of Loneliness

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” ~ Mother Teresa, A Simple Path: Mother Teresa

If I had left my apartment a mere two seconds earlier, I would have seen it happen. But I didn't have to see it. I heard it. And that is more than enough.

I was walking down the stairs to the train platform at the Roosevelt Avenue stop. Mid-way down the stairs, I heard, above all the noise of the crowds, one loud, horrifying, bloodcurdling scream, cut short as the oncoming train came to an abrupt stop.

My stomach tightened as I made it down to the bottom of the stairs. I saw in front of me a group of people standing near the edge of the platform, frantically peering down underneath the stopped train. Some were screaming. Many were crying.

The scream I had heard was that of a man who had hurled himself in front of the oncoming train.

The violent loss of a life occurring so close to you is traumatic. You are left feeling empty and devastated. It doesn't matter that you never knew the person. It doesn't matter that you had never even seen him or her. It's the mere act of taking one's own life, and the questions of "why?" and the effect it leaves behind with those who had been unfortunate to witness the tragic event, and the suffering of the loved ones who are left behind to pick up the pieces.

I pray for his soul, and I give my sympathy to all who loved him and who are now left to cope with the loss of him.