To help or not to help, this is the difficult question.

I don’t know!

I’m sick past sick of the not-knowing!

The internet site said to put the injured turtle in a box, and place it in a dark and quiet place. Keep it warm and safe. That will give it the best chance to calm down from the trauma.

I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do!

The returning warrior goes upstairs to his bedroom. He closes the door. He turns off the light. His wife watches the TV downstairs and tells the children to be quiet. They haven’t yet seen the MRI.

When they do, what safe box will be provided, to recover in?

They are everywhere now, the exploded, concussed, rattled and ruined , sitting quietly in bedrooms, parks, bars, hotels, cafes and parked cars, surprised that it is taking this long.

I didn’t know there were so many!

An unemployed twenty-something sits in her small room, her computer on her lap, open to a resume. She thinks about going out in the afternoon. No, maybe not. She pulls her blanket over her feet. A old floor fan is running in the background.

They are everywhere now, the young, under-employed, single and poor. I talked to her. She came down from Botswana for college. There is nothing for her here in South Africa. She is going home to nothing.

Our world is filled up like a used fifty-gallon water barrel and overflowing onto the dirt with the blasted, blistered, brutalized and abandoned of our society.

Whatever explosion, expulsion, exasperation, exclusion, excoriation or excruciation they have experienced, I think that they at least deserve a warm blanket and a quiet box.

Can’t I make a little box out of an old pallet or something? Save my Starbucks money in a jar, or something? There is reason to act past reason’s persistent request, isn’t there?

The precious ones with mental illness suffer perhaps the most. They stand hunched at the edge of my consciousness, the seat of reason undone, reality gone, common sense fled. They lurch crazy-eyed through the homeless camps, skulking along river’s edge, sleeping downtown between the buildings, sprawled on the lawn of the church, laying on the sidewalk at the entrance to the mall.

Mothers hustle their children away, but these were once themselves children, and in so many ways they are children again, in need of being told to not take off their clothes in public, to take their medicine, to sit down and eat and to go to bed at night.

They all need the traumatized turtle’s care — a little box, a quiet corner, a place to be soothed.

Do not freakin’ tell me that nothing can be done! I am not comfortable with telling myself that. We may not be able to heal brain damage, but we still know how to be kind, don’t we?

Which one of all the drug-addicted, alcohol-obsessed, brain-damaged, war-wounded, emotionally undone, unemployed, under-valued precious ones of the earth don’t still need to be gently touched on the arm, kindly spoken to and perhaps tucked into bed at night.

Will no one ever pat them calm again?

Mother Teresa, where are you?

Someone please help us reinvent kindness.

Aren’t these still our flesh and blood?

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