Tonight, I was heading home when at the intersection while stopped at the stoplight I noticed to my left in the median an older homeless gentleman. In his hand was a sign saying that he was a veteran. As I read it, he stood at attention and saluted. He was probably in his 50s or 60s, and as I looked away I felt my hand pressing the button. Before I realized it, he was taking steps toward my open window.
“I don’t have anything.” I told him as he approached. “But, I wanted to check and see how your day is going. Are you having a good day, today?”
Restign his elbow against the open window, he leaned in telling me that it wasn’t too bad of a day.
“That’s good.” I continued. “I just wanted to see how you are doing.”
The light turned green, but he stuck out his hand. I shook his extra firm grip, but he didn’t let go. Instead, he looked me in the eye, and with such sincerity in his voice he thanked me.
“Thank you for acknowledging me.” He said while shaking my hand.
I LOVE LIFE MORE THAN ANY PERSON ON THE PLANET.
The world, it has its share of problems. Have we ever had though “experts” telling us about it with such regularity? “They said” becomes truth, no matter the facts. An opinion becomes quantifiable truth without question.
Never has the connectiveness extended so far, beyond borders and geographic outlines. No longer are we tied to a phone by a cord or bound by “long distance”. We are connected in a way like never before. Distances are shrinking. What took minutes, even weeks, sometimes months to reach someone now can be instantaneous no matter where they are in the world.
Myself, I have not an answer to any myriad of problems that we individually face, nor collectively, but I doubt anyone else does either. An answer though is actually the easy part. Finding, and more importantly, executing a viable solution is a much different chapter in the story.
The glory days were not always so glorious. The difference being is they didn’t have someone 24/7 telling them how bad it was. We don’t know what we don’t know, although we sometimes think we know, when we really don’t know either.
If we are as divided as the powers that be say we are, then we cannot become unified by continually seeing “us” and “them”. “They” are us. We are more alike than we realize. We cannot become unified by disrespecting others’ opinions that are different than ours, and more specifically calling each other names. Throughout history name calling has been a means to an end. The psychological effect of seeing someone (or a group of some ones) as less than human has proven highly effective.
I choose to see people as people. It was not a homeless man but rather another human being that I spoke to, because I have a voice. I also want to listen and sometimes that makes all the difference in the world. We never know the battles someone is fighting on the inside.
At no other point in history could we voice our thoughts on such a global scale as we can today, which is why we live in such an amazingly beautiful time. At no other point could we interact with someone and have no idea what state – or country, they reside. At no other point did we have so many chances to meet people from all walks of life from all over the globe.
That is, if we so choose to acknowledge one another. And, thank you for acknowledging me.