In an effort to defragment from the atrocities of the world today, I thought it wise to humor my children with a trip to the pool. We had a late start, but 1pm turned out to be a fairly good time to splash around without crowds at the local YMCA. Abi made great strides in her swimming practice, and Braeden learned to kick his feet under water like a frog. In terms of swimming it was a winning day.
The world came back pretty quickly though once we left the gym. We climbed into the car. As I checked on the kids and their buckles, my mind swerved back to bomber hunts in Boston, explosive threats in Denver, and friends fighting threatening illnesses. I drove south along the road, considering the onslaught of hardships that have been seeping into my days, and the days of so many. I stopped at a traffic light, chewed on a sore hangnail, and allowed myself to slip into a small scaled, morose little daze.
There, on a perpendicular street which departed a large shopping center, a man stood on the corner, facing west. I kept checking the traffic light through my daze, as my mind left my car, and settled on this man. In a few short seconds I noticed items cluttered by his feet. I couldn't tell you now what the items were. I thought I saw a small orange traffic cone, but my eyes climbed too quickly, and I saw he held a sign. A beggar, I thought, and began my guilt ridden self talk of avoidance. He isn't facing me. I don't need to consider if I have anything to help him. I couldn't possibly read his sign from here.
But he felt my eyes on him. His body still facing away, he turned his head, and looked straight at me. I had not brought my eyes up to his. They were still affixed to the board in his hand. He noticed this, and took full advantage of my hesitant curiosity. He flipped his sign, quickly and purposefully in my direction, to reveal one word:
Turns out I had exactly what he needed, and I provided it in abundance.