Saturday, June 5, 2010
The Durability of the Human Spirit
Sorry it has been a while since writing, this entry was written a week or so ago but wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it, but what the heck, most people reading my blog probably think I am a bit touched in the head so whats another nail in that coffin . So here goes. Alecia, you wont be surprised about this but I promise to be more careful next time.
OK, let me start at the beginning. Near my hospital where I work is a community of homeless people, they panhandle on the corners and camp out under the bridges. There is usually only one or two around due to the city running them off. One day I got off early from work and was driving home. I was sitting at a light about three cars back and a homeless guy was standing at the corner holding a sign and a cup, asking for money. I didn't have any of my homeless packs to give him (a bag of provisions I like to have handy for just such a situation). I was thinking to myself that I can't give him any money because I didn’t have any small bills, all I had was a hundred dollar bill and 87 cents in change. I just couldn't give him 87 lousy cents, I rolled down my window and placed the folded hundred dollar bill into his raggedy old cup. I told him God had blessed me today and I wanted to pass the blessing on to him. I quickly rolled my window up, nudged my car forward a bit and stared ahead up at the light willing it to change. He gave the general "thanks" and glanced down at his cup. Hunched over peering in my window with his sign in one hand and his well worn begging cup in the other he looked and looked into his cup. He looked up at me, eyes wide and shaking his head mumbling he couldn't possible take such a sum, he actually tried to give it back to me. I just waved at him through my window, nudged my car a bit more hoping the traffic light would hurry up and change. I was very nervous about my actions and what this may lead to, I sound dramatic but anyone with street sense would never do such a thing, or at least they wouldn't do it in the way I did it. I wouldn't even tell you about it if it wasn't for his next actions, it is imprinted on my memory and has impressed and heartened me, if I wasn't so nervous and attentive to his proximity of me I would of missed it. He stuffed the money in his pants and turned away from my car. He took two steps as if to resume his work but stopped short and looked down at his cup and his sign, he studied them as if he'd never seen them before, as if they materialized in his hands. He stood there frozen, trying to figure out how the cup and old cardboard sign got there. Then he sprang to life, he threw the cup and sign down and laughed at the sky. He didn't just drop them, he threw them. He disposed of them with such force, as if it scalded his hands.
The darn light had still not changed. The homeless guy laughed and bounded to farthest corner of the street. He raised his arms and held up the silver cross that he had around his neck, he waved the cross to all the cars bustling by and then waved to my line of cars waiting at the light. I felt very exposed, I just wanted to slip the money to him and fade away, but the light was taking so long. Finally the light changed and I drove away. As my car passed by he pointed at the cross and smiled to the sky.
I hope you don't think I am bragging, this isn't the actions of a saint, I just wanted to help the guy. Again, I didn't want to write about it, didn't want to write about what I had done. But I did want to write about what he had done. I think a whole book could be written about that moment, that beautiful moment when he threw down his cup and sign. I am so amazed by the human spirit, the durability, the beauty, the unbending, unbreakable spirit.