Guest Blog by Melissa McCreery
I recently read New York Time’s bestseller An Invisible Thread — the true story of ad executive Laura Schroff and her unlikely friendship with Maurice, an 11-year-old homeless boy panhandling the streets of Manhattan. I was on one of my frequent excursions into the Barnes & Noble labyrinth of shelves when I stumbled upon Schroff’s book. The title caught my attention as it reminded me of the 2012 Justice Conference theme, Love is a Thread.
We’re here for a common purpose,
United by a common cause.
Artists, scholars, activists, writers, musicians.
Everyday folks who are making justice a priority.
Feed your soul. Grow your mind. Share your heart.
Raise your hand. Ask the question. Introduce yourself and join the conversation.
The stage is set. It’s time to begin.
Justice is a garment.
Love is a thread.
– The 2012 Justice Conference Program
Indeed, justice was the garment and love was the thread that drew Schroff to Maurice after initially passing him on a busy Manhattan street corner in 1986. While Maurice had been utterly invisible to thousands of passersby that day, he was not invisible to Schroff.
As I’ve read and Schroff and Maurice’s story unfolds, and their unique friendship develops, I couldn’t help but think about the hundreds of people like Maurice I’ve passed in my life — in Los Angeles, in Boston, and right here in Bend. I had to ask myself, “How many people have I made invisible outside the local Starbucks? How often have I walked past a person (maybe even a child like Maurice) in need, not even seeing them?” It’s not an ill-intentioned or malicious decision as much as it’s neglect. Pure and simple. Neglect to take notice of the vulnerable and the hurting. As An Invisible Thread points out, when poverty and the degradation of human life become visible, we typically don’t wish to think about it so we ignore it.
I’ve challenged myself to walk through life with my eyes (and my heart) wide open. To never lessen the hurting of others by making them invisible.
As much as An Invisible Thread is a story about Schroff, about Maurice, about poverty and the drug epidemic plaguing this country, it’s also about everyday people and everyday experiences. At its core, it’s a book that heralds the beauty of the human spirit; the significance of intentionality; the transcending power of hope.