stormclouds

3.10.2022



Blue jacket, blue sweater, blue sleeping bag, blue eyes with thunder heads rolling over them.  I saw him folded on the sidewalk ahead as I crossed the street.  He said nothing, but those eyes silently pleaded as person after person walked past.  I got out a few dollars and then guiltily covered my expensive bag with my arms as I approached him.

I'll often stop (I don't care what the money is spent on, it's the moment of kindness and acknowledgment that matters), but I rarely exchange more than a couple of words. 

After I walked away, I heard him call out.  I went back and knelt down beside him this time.  Up close, I saw the child in his face.  I thought of his mother.  Does she know where he is?  Is she a safe haven for him?  He asked me why no one stops.  "Everyone just keeps walking, like I'm not even here."  Then, on the verge of tears, he asked, "Why is everyone so mean?  Why is everyone just so angry?"  A dozen reasons flashed through my mind, none of which I could bring myself to say.  

I touched his arm and said, "You're right, people are angry.  I'm sorry.  But I'm not angry."  A slight untruth, that last part.  I tried to smile.  A couple sitting outside the coffee shop clearly didn't like anyone giving this human being who was cluttering up their sidewalk/day/reality any attention or reason to stay.  

His voice was somehow both ragged and childlike, his back curved in defeat.  I didn't have the right words (I never do) or any soothing answers.  He was gone when I passed back that way, but his questions and those stormcloud eyes have been with me for weeks. 

I know there are reasons to be angry.  There are things that deserve outrage.  The world can be a very unkind, unjust place.  And no matter what we look like or how we manage to pass ourselves off, we all carry some kind of storm inside.  What if, instead of outrage toward our fellow human beings, especially those we don't like the looks of or don't understand, we offer a little tenderness and see what that world looks like?

✴︎

slow notes:  

This, on compassion.


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by mlekoshi