There is something mystical about a simple gesture. I was driving to work yesterday afternoon when I witnessed just such a thing whilst stopped at a red light. It involved a young homeless man, a veteran I think; he takes up residence at a busy intersection near the local mall. I’ve seen him several times over the last week, dressed in his ratty jeans and a cardboard sign asking for help. His belongings fit inside a beat up old backpack, and I am ashamed to admit that yesterday was the first time I took notice of these things. Thanks to an older gentleman who performed a simple and totally random act of kindness on a Thursday afternoon.
It was getting hot and I had the AC pumping and Live humming its way through my sound system, caught inside my titanium sheathed bubble in which the whole wide world was my sovereign child. All that mattered to me was recording a story idea I’d come up with for the local Story Slam, and then reality was smacking me upside the head as I watched this older gentleman doing this kid a favor. Doing the whole world a favor, really.
The kindly old fellow got out of his car and opened his trunk, where he fetched a baseball cap for the kid dressed in struggle who calls the intersection home. That was it, the whole thing, that. The gift of a baseball cap that was making me feel as if a million dollars had just changed hands. And I wondered if the other witnesses to this beautiful moment were paying the same kind of attention as me. I wondered if they saw the purpose of such a thing, and the lessons it was dealing up.
And I stopped recording while Ed Kowalcyk railed on about misery and hope being maternal twins of an earth whose best days are hard to come by. And I cried, a glorious feeling kind of cry that wasn’t ashamed or self conscious. It just was. And I prayed for that kid some, and I gave thanks for that old dude. And the world seemed to make sense, if only for the moment, at that busy intersection . . on a Thursday afternoon in the middle of another working day.
You really shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. You should embrace it.