I know you probably have questions. Lots of them.
Lots of you have emailed and wondered where I’ve gone. I’ve been here. Just here, going about real life. Real crazy, busy, messy life.
From time to time I’ve thought I should pop back in, but… well the longer it got, the harder it was to explain and to know what to say. I’m sorry. I really shouldn’t have left so abruptly.
So, here I am.
We’ll get around to catching up, but for now I just wanted to take a stab at breaking the silence and tell you a real life story that after so many stalled efforts finally pushed me over the edge into blogging again.
There is an older man who lives in the woods and spends his days under the overpass close to our house. After reading “Same Kind of Different as Me.” I felt kind of convicted that I should at least TRY to do something for the man that I pass by every single day. So I took him a sack lunch and some mosquito spray, fully prepared for it being a very awkward and uncomfortable couple of seconds, after which I could drive away feeling great about having done a good deed for the day.
Instead I had the pleasure of spending a few minutes getting to know him. He was mightily impressed with the mosquito spray. He said no one had ever thought about him getting “bit up” out there before. And just like that he opened right up talked to me some.
He doesn’t see so well and doesn’t hear so well, but he’s friendly, funny and well… human. A human being with a name – John. His name is John, and he was obviously surprised that I wanted to know it.
So was I.
I drove away not feeling good about myself like I’d thought I would, but ashamed. I’ve passed him by hundreds of times and tried to look every other place BUT in his eyes. I will fully admit that I’m still scared and skeptical of the homeless. It makes me feel awkward every single time I pull the unlucky spot right next to them at the red lights around town, but my experience with John has been eye-opening. They’re just people. I’m not going to fix them or cure them, or maybe even like them much, but if John is any indication, it’s worth the small effort to show them some kindness.
I wouldn’t suggest passing out money (or your phone number or offering rides or anything like that). John had himself a tall beer in a bag at 9 AM. He was a lot more lucid when I talked to him in the morning than when we said hello in the evening. I’m pretty sure he drinks whatever money he gets and by the end of the day the heat and the beer have taken their toll. I can’t say I blame him really, but I’m not going to feed his fog. Still, it won’t hurt me any to make an extra sandwich now and again now will it?
I guess the light bulb moment for me in all of this was this: I mess up. I say stupid things. I do stupid things. I overindulge, fly off the handle, puff myself up and tear others down. I am a real piece of work actually, but I hope that people can look past my messes and love the good parts of me anyway. Who am I not to give John the same courtesy?
So, you know, try it. Next time you see a homeless person, look past the grime and your skepticism and ask them how you can bless them. Get to know them a little. It will make you want to be better.