I had a dream, I was sitting in a field, and angels were dancing around me, and one of them turned to me, and said "Today, We Have To Do Good!" It was a shocking moment for me, a revelation, and I sat upright and my mind started spinning.
These days, I know exactly why I have been put on this earth – to love Maria and my daughter and granddaughter, to be a good friend, to write and take photographs of souls and light, and to do good, to do something to help the refugees and immigrants and Mansion residents every day.
I didn't have to wait long for the chance.
Early this morning I got a phone call from Ali, he said tomorrow is Eid, the very important Muslim holiday to mark the end of Ramadan. The call was from Hawah's youngest son, he said that he and his sister had no good clothes to wear to the ceremony, and Hawah was too embarrassed to call. They needed help, and was there any chance Ali could call me and get some help buying a suit and a dress for them?
Ali hates to call to ask for money, but our deal is to always ask, and we can either do it or not. We can do this one, I'm going to bring a check for $300 so Ali can take these two children to Wal-Mart and buy some clothes for Eid, so they need not be embarrassed.
Their father is in a nursing home, unable to breathe or move on his own. His mother, a Libyan refugee, is trying to keep her family together, we helped get her an apartment to live in last week, and she is finally out of the homeless shelter she was living in for two months, she called it the "filthiest place on the earth."
So I'm heading to Albany, and there is another mission for me there, another way to do good. I am meeting a young Afghan mother and wife whose husband was murdered in front of her before she fled to the United States.
She is in trouble, her 17-year-old brother, who has never attended any kind of school in his life, lives with her, and because he is not in school, the local welfare officials have cut her rent subsidy and she faces eviction. The welfare authorities recognize no cultural differences, school is simply not an option for him now.
Her brother speaks almost no English and needs to find another way to exist here. She has an awful choice to make, kick out her brother or go to a homeless shelter. We will meet with her and see what we can do to help her.
So the angels were on the money, it is a beautiful day to do good and I am on my way, I'll report back tonight, there is nothing i would rather do and no place I would rather be today.
If you can and wish, you can help, we will need some help. You can send a contribution to the Gus Fund, Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, or donate via Paypal, email@example.com. This is a critical week and your help will be especially appreciated.
The Mansion/Refugee fund (a/k/a "The Gus Fund")is down to $900, or will be by the end of the day.