Day one of the Road trip home…
We decided to take a detour to downtown Vancouver and check things out. I haven’t been downtown for a couple of years, since the Olympics.
It’s funny how things are more real now.
There is no Canadian camaraderie…no red and white in the streets. It is Christmas yes…but it doesn’t cover up the poverty.
It doesn’t hide the people that try to manipulate you for money, so they can buy their next high.
Or the old man in the wheelchair, just parked there, with an empty stare and not much to wake up for.
The last few weeks, I have been in my own little clusterf^*k. I have had money worries, or so I thought…
Today I am humbled, I am embarrassed, I am grateful.
We were walking down the street, right in front of the Georgia hotel, and there was this old man, he was grubby, with crazy hair and a million clothes on, probably wearing all he owned and he was just standing there. I looked at him, and he looked at me, and for a second we connected to each other. I smiled at him.
When was the last time someone had smiled at him? When was the last time someone walking down the street actually looked him in the eye? When was the last time he felt like he mattered?
On the other side of the road when we crossed, there was a man sitting on the cold hard sidewalk. He was old as well, sitting there alone. Shivering. I wanted to do something. I mean what the hell? Maybe if I had taken that last $20 bill out of my wallet and given it to him, I could have changed his life. Even if it was just for a couple of days…to eat. Or maybe I would have killed him. $20 can buy some shitty drugs…either way, I will never know.
Because I didn’t stop.
I didn’t turn around and ask him if he needed anything, I didn’t acknowledge him at all.
I did what society teaches us. Ignore them. Keep walking. Don’t try to help.
And I wish I had gone with my heart. I wish I had stopped. I wish I had cared enough to shun society, like it seems to have shunned him.
But I didn’t.
Tonight we are at my parents.
We are sleeping downstairs, in a very wee for us bed, joking about who is going to end up on the floor because we don’t have enough room…and as I am laying here…warm, full and loved. I started to wonder…where are those two men tonight?
Sleeping on the sidewalk, under a cardboard box? With newspaper for a pillow?? Hungry and unloved. Forgotten and abandoned in a cruel world that just walks right past you and never cuts you a break.
How totally absolutely unfathomable is that to most of us? To all of us really…
As we walked, I looked at the people passing us by. People of every single walk of life…women wearing shoes that would cost enough to feed both of the homeless old boys for a month, probably longer.
Business men, too wrapped up in the next deal to even glance at anyone on their way down the street with their phone shoved in their ear.
Young girls walking together, laughing and talking…so used to seeing people sitting in doorways with everything they own in a box beside them, that they don’t even give it a thought.
Everyone wrapped up in their own lives, with blinders on, that way you can’t see the bad stuff. If you don’t make eye contact, they won’t even exist.
It makes me sad.
It makes me need to change things. Even a little bit.
It makes me need to pay it forward, some way…some how.
So that I will do. Starting tomorrow. I will just trust that the Universe is going to show me what I need to do and where I need to help. It always does.
It has brought back my Christmas spirit…
The spirit to make a difference, because I can. Because I can ask you to. Just do something small to start out, something you would never normally do.
Smile at someone that looks sad. Talk to them, and just see if they are ok.
Just a little bit.
Bake some cookies and give them to that homeless old crazy guy on the corner, I dare you.
Go with your gut, ignore society’s rules about how we should treat people that aren’t as lucky as us.
After all, isn’t loving and caring about each other what Christmas is all about?
Merry Christmas my friends…