Saturday, June 30, 2018

To see or not to see

I saw a young man pacing by the road the other day. He was wearing a blue baseball cap, and he looked lost and confused. He could have been my son, so I stopped and asked him how he was doing, if he was okay, and if he needed anything. He said he had been standing there for 15 minutes, waiting for his parole officer, but that he was okay. As he walked down the road, I wished him well.

I read about a young woman who was arrested the other day. I saw her mugshot posted on a website, her eyes staring off into the distance. She could have been my daughter, and I couldn’t help but read the only posted comment. It was from her mother who was thankful for the arrest. She asked for prayers in helping her daughter get the help she needed, prayers that she would find her path in life, prayers that would help her fight her addictions. That mother could have been my wife, and I silently prayed for them.

I met an elderly woman the other day who proceeded to tell me part of her life’s story. The sun was blaring down on both of us, but she could have been my mother so I stopped to listen. She told me of the times that were, the things she’d done, the people she once knew; of her bad back, bringing up a family, how she bode nobody ill will. I was sweating, but she didn’t seem bothered by the heat. She commented on how it was a beautiful day outside, wasn’t it? And I agreed, because I loved her like a son should.

The other day, I heard my long-dead father in the voice of an old man who came into the office complaining about not having local stations to watch through his satellite TV service. I’m sure he knew there was little we could do about it, but that wasn’t the point. He just wanted to be heard, to have someone acknowledge his concerns, to feel alive again. I didn’t get up to meet the man. It would’ve been too hard for me to bear.

A while back, I saw a woman standing at an intersection motioning to passing drivers for money, or food. She could have been my cousin, so I stopped and gave her five dollars. There’s no telling how long she had been standing there, no telling if she really needed the money or not, no telling if she was going to spend the cash on that night’s meal or a bottle of wine. It didn’t matter. She would have been my uncle’s daughter, and he would have done the same for mine.

I read a story the other day about a man who had his child taken away from him. Whether he was in the country illegally or not, he could have been my brother, and I felt his pain. He fought hard not to be separated from his young son, but he lost and was locked away in a padded cell. He didn’t survive the night.

We see the world for what it is, and how we’d like it to be. We see people for who they are, and for who they remind us of. We wish for all a better life, and don’t understand why for many it’s always just out of reach.

It rained the other day. I was so thankful, for it hid my tears.

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