Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Who are you when no one is looking?

“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.”
― Mother Theresa

He wanted spare change. He sat outside the courthouse in his tattered clothes; every indication that he was in some stage of homelessness. She reached into her purse and grabbed a dollar. She could have walked past him. She was headed to her internship on a busy Monday morning. But she stopped and gave him a dollar. She’s well-known for befriending homeless people. Sometimes she tells me that they even walk her to her classes…some even know her by name. A kind gesture from a poor college student. Her duties as an intern are to assist the judge in every aspect of the courtroom. The judge even asks her for her opinion on rulings, such as “What would you do if this were your case?”. Seated next to the judge, during a busy Monday morning, she spots the ‘homeless man’ sitting in the crowd of people waiting to see a judge. Immediately she notices that he is devouring a chocolate Snickers bar to the point, which she describes it to me as, “Mom, it was ALL OVER HIS FACE!”.  The judge saw it too and reprimanded the man by telling him to “eat like a grown up”, followed by asking him if he needs a napkin before the courtroom continues. She said it brought tears to her eyes because she knew it was the man she gave the dollar to outside the courthouse and that he must have been really hungry. The man proceeded to tell the judge that it was the only thing he has eaten for the last couple of days and says (pointing to my daughter), “the girl next to you gave me the dollar so I could eat”. A thankful stranger. A tearful daughter. A room full of strangers. Nobody knew anyone’s story…where they lived…who they were…why they were there….She proceeded to recall the events to follow. He was being evicted and he had nowhere to live. He was requesting the judge allow him to stay in his apartment for just enough time to gather the little belongings that he had and to take a shower because he knew his destiny was a life on the streets. The judge, noticing the tears in her eyes, asked her how he should resolve the case. She said I would let him take a shower one last time at his soon to be lost apartment. And he did just that. And for a small moment in time their paths crossed. He was more than a homeless man outside a courtroom. She was more than an intern. They were human beings…caring for human beings. She stayed over my house for a slumber party that night. We talked about her day in court. She actually always talks about the ‘wounded birds’ and the ‘out-of-luckers’. The moms who are trying to feed their kids. The thiefs who are trying to feed their families. The people who don’t know the right way to solve their problems. We laid in bed together as she shared her stories. A show called Intervention came on. Families dealing with drug addictions and all the illegal issues that surround that disease. We laid in my warm bed with four dogs at my feet…with the heat comfortably set on 67 degrees…after we washed our faces and brushed our teeth…after we texted all our family and friends who wait for their daily ‘Good Night My Love’ texts. We watched the families on tv struggling to save their children or mothers or fathers or sisters and brothers from themselves. I said that I was so glad that I will never have to go through that with my children…she agreed…because they felt loved and they felt needed and they felt wanted and important…she agreed. And we closed our eyes knowing that we figured it out…we grew into a family that knows that we stand together…with love in our matter what…forever. As I fell asleep I thanked God and all my guardian angels guiding my life that my children grew into the people that they are today; people who know that they are loved…feel that they are loved…and have the compassion to extend that wisdom to all people…even the guy sitting outside a courtroom…when no one else was looking.

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