Friday, April 12, 2013
Big Hug, Brighter Day, New Insights
On Wednesday I had an experience that rocked my world more than I think it should a regular person. I had to grab some food, so I hopped across the street from school and ordered some sushi. The lady at the counter said I could take a seat and wait for 15 minutes, but I told her I'd take a walk instead.
Unsure of where I was to head, I just let my feet choose direction. I followed my footsteps to Bastion Square, where I saw a familiar looking man. From across the street I made up my mind: I'm gonna grab all my coin (yeah, not much in there, but still all my coin) and I'll give it to him. He's the one homeless man I feel the most pitty for. Whenever I walk by him my heart hurts, truly hurts. It twists into knots and touches my gag reflex. It saddens me that I must be reminded that not everything in the world is light and airy and dreamy and fun and happy ... many, many people have it real tough in this lifetime. This guy though, he's got it real tough, through my eyes anyway, stuck in his wheelchair with a crooked back. He has barely any language to communicate with. I can hear him from a couple steps away, wincing and moaning and making strange noises, trying with all his might to grab someone's attention ... anyone's attention at all, who might connect with him and prove his existence.
Anyhow, I walked over to him. He saw me seeing him and I could tell he got excited. I said hello and smiled hard, and his facial expression changed. He made a few noises and opened his arms crookedly, as much as was possible and waited. I wasn't sure if he wanted a hug or if he was just expressing some kind of joy. I asked him, "Do you want a hug? Can I give you a hug?!" I took whatever motion he made as a yes and I went in for it, bending down to meet him at hug level. We hugged briefly and then I gave him my change. More noises followed and he was very thankful. I don't think he was thankful for the change, but mainly for the interaction. I doubt many people give him the light of day. Before making my way over to him I witnessed a dozen people just walk by without any acknowledgment as he shouted nonsense. As I said ... breaking heart.
When I walked away I turned around and he was still looking in my direction. He waved, and I waved back with a big smile. I walked a bit further and found myself almost tearing up. My heart clogged up again and I felt pain and sorrow for him. At least I was able to brighten his day, and he sure brightened mine in the process. I really didn't expect this all to happen. I didn't think I'd get this emotional. Now I stunk of cigarette and old-homeless-man but didn't care. I felt good about all of it.
I realized that perhaps I need to volunteer somewhere, or strive to work in an environment where I can interact with people of unfortunate circumstance. I want to learn from them, about them, make their lives a little bit brighter, and maybe come out of it feeling like I've achieved something in life. Sure, fashion design and art are all fun, and they fulfill a part of me, but something is missing. I think this is it.