Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anything Helps


I also want to mention a man I saw begging at a stoplight. This, of course, is a common sight, but everything about him was uncommon, and in a very good, inspiring way. If Jimi Hendrix were still alive, he might well look like this — graceful in movement, deeply intelligent, wise in his weathered face and eyes, dusty in countenance, his presence that of an angel, his pain too great and too beautiful to hide.

This particular light is situated atop a gentle slope at a convenient bend, where the road turning left is two lanes wide. In our town, most beggars at intersections stand numbly while holding their cardboard signs, which, if I might paraphrase, say, “Homeless, anything helps, God bless.”

When I arrived, the light was red, and there were already several cars ahead of me in both lanes. This light takes awhile to change, and the beggar was making use of the time. He was engaged in a friendly chat with one passenger, who handed him some money. After thanking him respectfully, he glanced at the other cars, and, making eye contact with someone else, motioned for them to lower the window, which that person did. After another brief chat, the beggar achieved the same positive result. All the while, he held his head high. He was also amused by himself, as if he were pleasantly in awe of the life and circumstances that had brought him here.

Still standing in the roadway, wise and humble and proud, the beggar was about to try again when the light changed. Sign to his chest, he turned around and took his place on the sidewalk. It was the first time I’d seen him. I might never see him again. But seeing him was a blessing.


6 comments:

Stickup Artist said...

It all comes down to how we feel about ourselves and cope with whatever the outside world dishes up. I am just learning this lesson and it is freeing not having to depend on the vagaries and often ridiculous concepts of the outer world so much for self worth and acceptance. I love this tale, and it is amazing how sometimes one finds exactly what one needs at just the right time. Thank you!

William Michaelian said...

From hand to mouth to heart and mind, I am amazed as well. And I thank you....

rahina q.h. said...

beautiful.... rather than wait for lights to change and get irritated, you observed the man and his movements and his character... a minute spent well...i also love watching people... until they realise i am watching and spoil it;)

William Michaelian said...

The perfect moment, before you turn away, for eye contact and a respectful nod or smile. Unless running is more appropriate....

erin said...

why should we ever turn from one another? perhaps if we made more eye contact it would be a different world.

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

Exactly, Erin.

If people could look into each other’s eyes / What a wonderful place this world would be / All strife would end, we could start again / And dreams like these must not pass on

— Gordon Lightfoot, from “Leaves of Grass”