As I was driving down the street the other day, I saw a man sitting on the corner. He didn’t have a sign or anything, but he looked like he was one of the people that usually stand on the corner asking for money. A lot of times I will give money to someone who asks. Since this man didn’t have a sign, I just didn’t pay much attention to him. Two hours later, I had to return to that same intersection. As I was driving by, I saw another man sitting in the grass eating a sandwich with the man I had seen earlier. The man who was sitting in the grass did not look like someone who needed money. This really made me think. Did I have anywhere I needed to be immediately? No. I did have my kids with me. But it made me wonder. Why hadn’t I thought to stop to talk to that man? Or better yet, get something to share to eat with him. Did it really matter that the kids were with me? What a great model that would be to share with them. Would taking 30 minutes or an hour out of my day have really mattered?
Since I am getting my counseling certification, I have really been trying to be more ‘in the moment’ in the things that I do. I know this is about continual practice, but it made me see that as much as I think I am ‘in the moment’ sometimes, I can still miss those life changing experiences. Trying not to beat myself up about it, I was very thankful I had even noticed the situation and that there was someone out there that took the time to do that. I could view this as either a missed opportunity or a learning experience. I believe it was a learning experience. Of course I will not be able to stop and sit with everyone I see that needs money, but when there are no other pressing circumstances I will rethink my passive attitude about those out there that are looking for help. How beautiful it would have been to shut out the world, sit with this man, and listen to his story….even if it was just for 30 minutes. And how awesome would it have been for him to know that someone wants to listen. I am glad I was opened to this experience and if it presents itself again, I will hopefully be present enough to act on it.