The Inconvenience of Caring

Azrya Bequer
5 min readDec 30, 2020

I casually drop $126 dollars on a couple of gluten-free pizzas, some veggie soup and an array of artisan chocolates at Erewhon in Venice, CA to bring over to my girlfriend’s house a few blocks away.

After we finish our fireside chat, I get in my Range Rover and begin driving home. It’s around 10pm, on the 23rd of December.

The streets are bare, the winds picking up. As I pull to a halt at the stop sign, I see the crumpled figure of a person curled in fetal position on the sidewalk, convulsing on the cold asphalt with a plaid shirt pulled over their face.

It’s the kind of sight where it’s hard to look. And even harder to look away.

A quick series of thoughts flash across my mind: “Pull over. Make sure this person is okay. Give them your coat.”

Instead, I make the left turn and keep driving home to my safe, warm, comfortable life.

But the damage is done. I allowed myself to care — even if just for a split second. And the care in my heart isn’t backing down.

How inconvenient.

As I near the next intersection, I realize I’m in a choice point moment. The timeline in which I drive home and hang the almost $300 dollar faux fur Spirit Hood coat in my closet, knowing full well I have the resources to order myself another one in less than 60 seconds, suddenly seem ludicrous in the face of such overt suffering.

“Fuck.” I say to my dog, who is staring at me intently from the passenger seat. She knows something’s up.

I make a sudden U-turn. My heart rate speeds up. Am I really going to approach this person? What if they’re dangerous? What if they’ve got a weapon on them? What if this is stupid?

I park, and get out. Approaching the twitching figure I see that — in a desperate attempt to create a shield, a layer of protection, a cocoon for the head — the plaid shirt is exposing the tender lower back and belly. Filthy sneakers have been kicked half off. No other possessions are in sight, no backpack, no trash bags. Nothing. Just a man on a sidewalk, exposed and alone.

A man who appears to be scrawny enough to fit just fine into my plush coat.

I stand there for a moment, alone on the sidewalk, unsure of how to proceed. Do I just try and place the coat on this man and hope he doesn’t think I’m attacking him? Jump up in self defense and pull a knife on me?

I take the coat off, circling him a few times. The streets are dark and empty. No one is around.

I decide it’s less risky if I don’t surprise him, so I use my voice instead.

“Excuse me,” I say. I have to repeat it a few times before I get a response.

Finally the man pulls the shirt from his head. He’s young, maybe early 30’s with blonde, filthy hair. He’s barely conscious but when I ask, “may I give you a gift?” He responds with “yes. Thank you.” His voice is kind, he’s not at all scary.

I place the thick, warm, furry coat over his frail body.

“May you be blessed,” I hear myself say.

Then I walk away.

As I get back into my car, my heart cracks open. The tears follow. I can’t precisely put into words what I feel. It’s a combination of tender grief, devastating gratitude and newfound clarity of purpose.

My inner cynic tries to chime in. “He’ll probably just sell the coat for drugs. And if he doesn’t, some other bum will steal it from him. Besides, he’s only one guy in a sea of millions in need. What difference does it make?”

“It doesn’t matter.” I reply. “It doesn’t matter. Because: LOVE.”

I don’t share this experience with you because I want to make sure everyone knows about my good deed, although I’m sure some will interpret it that way.

I share it because life gave me an opportunity to create a pattern interrupt in my own comfortable slice of reality. To make a different kind of choice. The kind of choice that comes with a gift. That gift is the revival of a lost humanity. It is the gift of an achingly open heart.

For me in that moment, pulling over wasn’t the right choice. It was the only choice. And that makes it incredibly inconvenient. When I don’t care I can just drive home and live my life. When I care, I no longer can.

Is this single act going to change the world? Maybe not at first glance. But the energy that inspired it will. And while it’s true that even if I cleared out my bank account to buy faux fur coats for every homeless person I encountered, I’d still barely make a dent in the systemic issues of mental illness, addiction and trauma that lie at the root of homelessness. And yet — this single act has cracked me open to a feeling I want to intentionally integrate into my future as a consistent drum beat rather than an outlier experience. It has compelled me to really look at my privilege and ask myself just how much more I am capable of giving.

Truth is, I doubt I would have made the same choice if I hadn’t just finished reading “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” by Charles Eisenstein. In the book — which is profound in every way — he speaks frequently about “invisible acts of kindness,” and how our world is only as compassionate, kind and beautiful as every tiny action we collectively take in service to others. It’s such a reminder how powerful our words are to catalyze change in the hearts and minds of those who read them. Thank you, Charles. Thank you, words.

Perhaps these words will spark something in you that will lead to making the world a more beautiful for all.

Even — if it’s inconvenient.



Azrya Bequer

Azrya Bequer is the Co-Founding Steward of KAVANÂ, a 30-acre Retreat Center & Learning Institute on the South-Pacific coast of Mexico.