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New Year’s Eve in New York City is like no other. The crowds are immense. The excitement is palpable. And everyone is waiting for the famous ball to drop! But something else I saw that night haunts my memories.

New Year’s Eve in New York City

It was my first time in New York since the pandemic. I was walking up 8th Avenue toward Times Square amid a wave of humanity. There were people as far as the eye could see.

I pushed on for a while, but then turned back. Covid has made me more than a bit sensitive to crowds! Suddenly, my eye caught a scene that will stay with me forever.

Shadows in the crowd

As I passed a small doorway, I saw three young people. They seemed oblivious of the crowds, and so too were the crowds of them.

One of the three was a small girl. In fact, she was as thin as a matchstick. She was hunched over. She looked about 8-years old, but her face was drawn and lined. It had the look of an old woman.

She was struggling to light something rolled between her lips. I realised it was crack cocaine.

Alas, this scene was a sideline in the mega-production that was New Year’s Eve in New York.

A boulevard of broken dreams

Writing this, my mind creates scenarios as to what led that small girl to end up living a ghetto-like existence on a boulevard of broken dreams in New York City.

Hers was a life that was there for all to see, if only people opened their eyes. I’m sure her life was filled with lots of trauma, heartache, rejection, and sheer loneliness. It all led her on that path to that doorway in New York City on New Year’s Eve.

I love the United States. My prayer is that it will look after its people better. I personally know of families who absolutely panic over healthcare; missed operations and medical treatment because the cost is so high and insurance so tenuous.

The US is so wealthy it surely could provide all the healthcare and counselling needed. And the wealthy would hardly notice the difference in the financial contribution they would need to make for it to happen.

I do know this is not just a problem with the US. However, the US has the idealism and the drive to make scenarios like the one I saw rarely ever happen.

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  1. Bruce 11 January 2023 at 13:37 - Reply

    One of Zelenskies payments could fix a lot of problems.

  2. Danielle Golding 12 January 2023 at 22:19 - Reply

    Yes an evening in New York , turns into a horror scene with a child smoking crack , the stuff of what horror stories are made of , for those who are discriminating , or discerning , about such issues , complete horror to any parent , or to you bill.

  3. Pete Jones 16 January 2023 at 15:04 - Reply

    So sad. It probably helps to numb the pain of the grinding poverty and sense of hopelessness.

  4. Pam 16 January 2023 at 22:21 - Reply

    One has to wonder what that child went through to be smoking cocaine sexual or physical abuse. One just hates to think about what that child’s life is like and how long before she is dead. Not even important enough to be a statistic

  5. Tony 17 January 2023 at 10:20 - Reply

    It narrows down to the nation drifting away from God. It reminds me of what our Lord says about the 7 churches in Revelation.
    Yes it’s sad to see what is happening to USA. When I was LA I saw, I saw hundreds of homeless people.

  6. Karen Krite 17 January 2023 at 10:26 - Reply

    Such a story activates the heart, which leads our mind to how confronting the reality of how unjust our world is.
    For you Rev. Bill the experience was life changing. Sharing your powerful story on your platform evokes compassion and awareness which then cultivates discussions of what is truly happening beyond our own life’s. Hopefully this will inspire all of us to demand change.
    We can’t do this alone but just imagine what we can achieve if we all united together to achieve what every single person deserves. Safe Space. Food. Health. Love. Support. Awareness is the first step to achieving this.

  7. Jane Doogan 17 January 2023 at 12:01 - Reply

    Tragic – I am so blessed

  8. Lee Sumana 17 January 2023 at 13:13 - Reply

    Heartbreaking story. Too many of them all over the world. Could be so much easier to switch off totally… thanks for sharing a NY based case story with us. And of course the girl is not just another case. Some wealthy folks insulate themselves too well. We of course can all respond to the need about us in our own particular way. An ongoing challenge for sure.

  9. Phil Ryan 17 January 2023 at 13:43 - Reply

    Bill your sharing truly speaks to the haves and have-nots mentality prevalent in the USA. Particularly, amidst the glitz, the glamour, and the clamor of 8th Avenue and Times Square revelry and celebration. Wishing you Joy, peace, and happiness always.

  10. Richard Kahotea 20 January 2023 at 07:57 - Reply

    It’s overly sad that the USA, with an induced mindset going back years, has always seen itself as the mainstay military might on Earth, and it’s self appointed saviour, and in which financial and manpower resources are priorities that in their gladiatorial minds must be maintained in that area to offset and deter any likely enemy threats etc…to the detriment of proper ongoing welfare and wellbeing of it’s citizens…oh how it would have been nice to have waved a magic wand while you were there huh?
    Best for 2023 and beyond and take care Bill…!!.

  11. Geoffrey Cowling 21 January 2023 at 14:34 - Reply

    Unfortunately, it is religion which supports hyper-capitalism that has led to this inequality. US was reducing inequality up until 1980, when socialism became a dirty word….
    God has done nothing, so we must!

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