It’s cold outside, she lays on the hard cold cement. Another person’s thrown away unfashionable, 2 year old blanket drapes over her frail forgotten body.
Is she breathing? Should I check? What if she talks to me? What if she attacks me? If she wakes, what will she want from me?
Maybe what she wants is something you need, but don’t realize. If you could look into her eyes, you’d see years of life. A life less than ordinary. A life like yours or mine. Days of sweet happiness like a warm cup of hot chocolate (with whip cream, of course); or listening to a child’s laughter; or a brief human connection of spirits as a passerby smiles at her. Days of disappointment like the door of opportunity shut for work or just the longing of a friendship. Moments of sadness; maybe a lost loved one; a failed career; or her souls absorption of a negative comment from another scared human being.
Regardless she has a fight in her. A willingness to live in this often seemingly unfair world. Something drives her to live, to breathe. We don’t know her story. We don’t know why she’s doesn’t have all the glorious important things in life, like a car, a house, a fancy blanket or the sometimes overlooked novelties such as a loved one, a daughter, a brother, a mother. But, we know she has a drive, a need, a want or she wouldn’t be here. Maybe it’s her fault. Maybe it’s something she can’t control; an overwhelming battle with a force big than her; controlling thoughts, actions. But she continues to fight.
Throughout the last 15 years my sensitivity and respect for the homeless or those down on their luck has been overwhelming. Out of respect to my family’s privacy, I don’t discuss their personal issue here, but I can say that experiences within our family have made me realize that everyone has a story. Everyone has a struggle. Sometimes they make irrational spur of the moment decisions (we’ve all done that to different extremes). Sometimes it’s larger than life, a mental illness, neglect, abuse that leads them to an abyss of Dante’s Inferno; a black hole. But underneath all of this is the human spirit. A human being. Something that separates us from many other mammals. The need to have interaction, to grow spiritually, mentally, socially. Sometimes our expectations seem to exceed our abilities and feelings of desperation overwhelm our spirits. Sometimes other judge us without knowing our story. Sometimes, the only descriptive word to describe your plight is frustration. People not seeing you for who you are; your potential and your fight hidden from the world.
As Steve catches up on some much needed rest, I was wasting good daylight hours surfing the web today. I popped over to Zack Arias Blog and found inspiration for this post. Even though Derrick isn’t homeless or fighting mental disease. He is a human, who may have made an irrational decision. He is a human that has a story that may have had 100s of doors shut on it. But, Zack decided to open the front cover and read past the introduction.
Have a look. It’s extraordinarily simple in a magical, everyday, could have unfortunately been ignored, but incredibly important way. Everyone has something important within them. Something equal to you or me. Something inspirational. And it all started with this amazing video, followed by this very brave email. See what listening to people’s stories can do. Three unlikely intertwined stories, making my the fourth or fifth or more (i’m sure these little acts of listening, sharing and braveness have opened many more book covers). You never know the impact it will have on someone’s life, especially your own.
What I thought was a waste of my time, web surfing, lead me to open the door on an unlikely teacher fulfilling a need that I had for spiritual positive motivation/growth.
**if you want to help support the soap man, go here.
***I should add that I’m not advocating random accosting of strangers. Just saying that a little smile or listening most of the time goes a long way.