So, you’ve probably seen this story. A homeless woman in Fort Myers, Florida pleads with the President for immediate help and she finds it. A place to live and so much more help comes her way.
I feel mixed about this.
First, I saw the moment live on CNN. It was what I call a “kairos moment.” Ancient Greeks had a concept wrapped up in their word “karios.” The word simply means, a moment where time and opportunity meet. A karios moment happens when we respond to the call of life bidding us to participate in big and small ways that bring transformation and innovation to a moment or situation. It can be as simple as a smile. It can be as big as a house for a homeless person.
The President responded to one of these moments by reaching out to Henrietta Hughes. Her life is altered. It was an amazing moment and she is changed for the better.
The issue I have is not what happened. The issue I have is that it took the President of the United States showing up to create the moment. Why? Again, I was blown away by the moment. I believe it was genuine and the ensuing help is wonderful. I’m thrilled for Hughes.
But Hughes had those needs before the Town Hall meeting. I’m sure she had been trying to get the attention of anyone who might help. Why can’t we see needs, help each other and change the world without it first needing to be on CNN? There are situations just like this one all around us. There are thousands if not millions of people in dire circumstances all over the country. President Obama can’t have his “staff” meet with each one and change their situations. But, maybe, just maybe we could; locally embracing again the populism that forged this country in the first place.
I also know this kind of reaching out is happening. Amazing people are making amazing differences all over the world. And, the cameras don’t roll, the interview doesn’t happen, the crowd doesn’t applaud, but the hurting are helped. Kairos moments happen. if the Obama moment in Fort Myers teaches us anything, it should teach us to initiate action without the lights and cameras.
We can do it.