What story are you creating? If you are anything like me your calendar is full and your “To Do” list is a mile long. I find myself rushing through my day hoping to find a minute to work on my growing task list. I am ashamed to say that I can be oblivious to what’s happening around me. But for the past several months we’ve been living in a different world, we’ve been living through a pandemic. I’ve been forced to slow down because the world has slowed down. This has given me the opportunity to realize that I have been missing the beauty in the things that I see every day; I have failed to see hope, faith, and love.
It’s easy to focus on crime, devastation, hatred, and horrible acts of violence because that is what the media show us. It can cause us to feel hopeless, afraid, and disgusted if we allow it to. Looking for the beauty, the love, and the hope that is all around us can change everything. One day I realized that I had been witnessing love and hope for months and I didn’t even recognize it. But today I know what I’ve been seeing is beautiful and it touches my heart and soul.
My daily commute takes me through the streets of downtown; so twice a day I pass the same corporate businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues. But I also pass the same empty buildings, makeshift sleeping quarters, shelters, and charity missions. I drive through these areas each and every day and I’ve never thought about the drastic differences in those two worlds.
One morning I happened to notice an elderly couple sitting on a park bench in front of the old abandon bus station. I didn’t think anything of it and I went about my day. That evening I noticed that they were still on that same bench. Over the next several days I found myself looking for them each morning and night; to my surprise they were sitting on that old dirty bench most days.
At some point, I realized that they were homeless and then recognized how unaware I had been. How long have they been on that bench? How many times have I passed by and didn’t even notice them? That was an eye-opener for me; a time for change.
Mary & John
Over the next few weeks, I started to look forward to seeing them, I had even given them names – they were Mary and John. Mary is a sweet lady who seems to take care of John. I’ve seen her helping John take off his tattered shoes, I’ve seen her cover him up with an old ripped blanket while he lay on the bench asleep, and I’ve seen Mary lovingly sweep the sidewalk in front of the bench with an old broken broom. John seems to be a gentleman; and in my heart, I imagine that he loves Mary dearly. I’ve seen John sitting on the bench with Mary’s hand in his, I’ve seen him offer her water out of an old red water jug, and I’ve seen him standing behind that bench rubbing her shoulders.
They don’t appear to have much, it looks to be 3 bags of personal belongings between the two of them; and of course an old broken broom. I don’t know their circumstances, how they ended up at that bus station, or what hurdles life has thrown at them. What I’ve come to realize is I look forward to seeing them because they remind me of what is important in life. It is about personal connections, love, and humility.
I wish that more people could take a lesson from Mary and John. I am thankful that I’ve been fortunate enough to learn something from them, even if from afar. In a world full of fear, hate, tragedy, and disaster I hope that you are able to enjoy your life’s journey and write a story full of hope, faith, and love. As for Mary and John, they seem to have everything that they need – each other!