Homeless & Heart(FULL)
Seattle is ROUGH. At least, that's what I usually think. That's what I *usually* SEE... But, LISTEN TO THIS! (This is a long one, but I swear, it's worth it!)
We stayed on a Pier in Seattle for our 1st Anniversary this last weekend. I bet you didn't know that we have a hotel LITERALLY built on a pier, did you? NEITHER DID I! #andImaNative LOL But, it was AMAZING!!! 😍
Jay had planned out a bunch of super fun mini-adventures all over the city so we walked or biked, or RODE as passengers on others' bikes (😂) all through downtown, pike place, pioneer square, & even all the way to Safeco stadium... (For those of you who are out-of-towners... this is MILES of metropolis traveled.)
Throughout our stay, I was reminded of ALL THE HOMELESS people in our city. A little over a year ago, I had lived here & the homeless plight was one on my heart daily. Familiar questions made their way back into my mind: HOW in the world could we help all of them? The problem seems too big, too horrible, too out of control for little old ME to do something about. 🙁
On our way back to the hotel from the Mariner's baseball game, we decided to take it slow and meander through some of the little shops along the water. At this point, we were out of change & we had eaten all of our food, so, I have to admit, I wasn't paying much attention to those in need around us. After all, what was I to do?!
BUT... just as we were leaving a particular shop, I made eye contact for a half second with a soul across the sidewalk. His hair was disheveled, dark brown & falling haphazardly across his forehead. His skin was tanned & a bit leathered, but it was clear that he was young. What struck me most were his EYES. Piercing. Green.
He was in a t-shirt & he exuded calm. It was quite warm out, a comfortable enough temperature in the shade but searing in the sun. I might have thought he was just another Seattle-ite out enjoying the weather except for the fact that he was sitting in a wheel chair with his right foot propped up high, shoeless &... the most telling; he held a cardboard sign. I began to read it but was immediately distracted as a passerby gave him a bottle of water. He quickly sat the sign down & thanked the young girl before she hurried off with her mother. The man downed that water, in it's entirety in a matter of seconds, not letting his lips leave the drink until it was positively gone. With exuberance & clear gratitude, he finished & visibly sighed with content. 🙏
I wondered what his story might be...
"ASK," I heard the still small voice inside my head. And, instead of thinking twice about it, I headed straight over to him...
"Hey.... How are you doing?" I sounded as if I was just talking to a neighbor. Because, honestly, wasn't he? 🤔
He answered & I was delighted as he spoke. The man was clear-headed & seemed smart enough. He told me about breaking his foot, shared his excitement that he would get crutches on Tuesday & maybe be able to find a good job again. That, just a month ago he had landed a 40 hour a week job that he thought would be his big break... Until, his LEG broke. I kept asking questions & he kept answering. He told me that for years he'd been on the street, trying to make a living, trying to get by.
Jay made his way over to us to listen in & introduce himself. We listened as he spoke about his life. Weaved into his stories seemed to be all the ways that this guy would give away what he had to other homeless patrons, just when he might have been able to "make it." He's 37 years old.
He told us about his step-daughter. That he wished he could show her that somebody cared. He got tears in his eyes as he spoke of her. He choked right up & I felt my eyes burn hot. He told us never to forget having a child who needed us. Because, there would come a time when, that same child will decide that they don't. He never faltered or stuttered in his telling. His words rang true.
At one point, he even said, "God put me here on this street. I don't know why but I'm supposed to be here right now & I help as many of these folks as I can. I let them use my wheelchair to carry their stuff & they need the help!"
When we'd chatted for a solid fifteen minutes, it was time for us to get walking again so we could make our next reservations... Jay handed him a $20 bill. He took the money gratefully. "No way! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Seriously! THANK YOU!" He seemed surprised.
His eyes softened as he looked up, "But, THANK YOU the most just for stopping to talk. You have NO IDEA how much that means..."
We saw him again the next day as we headed downtown for the morning & stopped to chat awhile again. We had a bag of goodies for him that we wanted to hand over on our way out of the city later that afternoon & though we drove around for about twenty minutes looking for him, we didn't see him again after that...
I don't know when or IF I'll see that guy again, but if I do... I know that I will be thanking HIM for taking the time to talk with ME. ❤️ Sometimes all we need is a new perspective to completely SHIFT our reality.