My mind was leading me back to the poor homeless man. The short encounter sure kept reciting in my mind and despite it happening so quickly, the experience was so profound that it must have left a lasting impression on my soul. I recalled a few things, from the disbelief in his eyes that bared themselves to show his vulnerability, to the moment of gratitude and holding on to my hand for a little bit longer while he was thanking me. It became obvious that giving him money would only be a tiny bandaid for his situation, but it was something, and at least it was a start. A start…To what I wondered, to see another day of the same??? Most likely the same scenario would replay as he was sitting on the corner with his sign and with his dog. It wasn’t like he was going to put the money aside for a savings account or a rainy day fund like the one I had. I wished I could have done more to help and alter his life, but I wasn’t sure what that would have entailed. Was I in any capability to do so and wasn’t I still trying to help myself?I was left wondering as to why my mind kept circling back to him and why I kept revisiting that day. Did I miss something, a sign perhaps, a message, a lesson that was to be learned?
I saw myself driving away in tears and realized the moment that it had been a very long time since anybody had blessed me. He may never knew, but while it was me trying to help him, it was also him who redeemed me in that very moment and gave me salvation. A blessing as if I was absolved from – and forgiven for all my sins.
I guess my lesson is a reminder that life is hectic as we rush around, only to miss important moments, perhaps even signs. It’s easy to look at somebody, to know nothing and to form an opinion based on ones own perception. To think that they are perfectly capable of working and getting a job instead of standing on the street corner asking for money. Dare them to become a nuisance and an uncomfortable situation for us. To make us look down or avoid crossing their path all together. I knew that life had rushed me past many others before and I knew I may had avoided encounters all together, some for selfish reasons, perhaps not wanting to feel guilty for the ones less fortunate. Ignorance and not knowing is bliss at times. I felt embarrassed that in the midst of…in the midst of what…I’m not even going to make an excuse of what it might have been that day…but that in the midst of whatever, I had allowed myself to be reduced to entertain such a shallow thought. To be tricked by my false perception, allowing it to become reality of something or somebody, without knowing the facts. To judge and label somebody unrightfully without ever knowing more. In my defense, perhaps there were people that made a living this way but this was not the impression I had with this man and each situation is different just like our situations in the working class is different. We all have a story. But it’s tricky to get somebody to take the time to listen and to find out.
We can think and feel as much as we want to, but we never know what a persons story is until we take interest and slow down enough to find out. Which by the way is an entirely different struggle. With that in mind I contemplate what needs to change so I don’t get caught in the trap of false impressions. I would bet that you have your own stories and you remember a time when somebody judged you. It’s painful and cruel, and it’s unjustified demeanor leaves us feeling as if we are not worthy of their time and compassion.
In my case and with the encounter of the homeless man, I’m glad that I was there and that I could help even if it was in the smallest of ways. I’m grateful for the blessing I received and the reminder to have a little more compassion for each other. I’m grateful to have escaped life’s hectic in the effort to give meaning to somebody else and to not let my late running situation dominate to be all there was. To refrain from judgement and to practice understanding.
We never know what somebody is going through and I will continue to look for signs like this to escape the demands of a conventional world filled with hectic. To slow down whenever possible and to make a conscious effort of getting to know someone a little more.
After all, we are all human and deserve compassion….some of us just have tougher roads to conquer and you might walk away from your experience like this, feeling wonderful, fulfilled and blessed.