Monday, June 03, 2013

Young and Homeless

Darkness before the dawn. 
Sometimes in life there are brief moments that touch our hearts so profoundly it alters how we see things. This past weekend we journeyed to Ohio to pick up our daughter Paige for her annual visit. It was for the most part a very enjoyable family time, and originally I had intended to write about that.
Every once in awhile we see something or someone that touches us inside. I’m talking about one of those moments that make you stop and think. One of those brief moments that allows us to remember we are all member of the human race.
As we journeyed home, we stopped for dinner at a rest area along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We all had our assorted meals, and as is my habit after I was finished I wandered outside to have my smoke and enjoy the early evening, people watching, until it was time to go.
Sitting there lost in thought my attention was caught by a young man in his early 20’s with a small brindle greyhound. I could see his cloths were in ill repair, his hair was in dreads, with dirt on his torn pants and hands. Was he a runaway, a throw away, or maybe just a young kid down on his luck.   
When he walked passed I caught a glimpse of his face and could see the hollowness of his cheeks. I watched to see what he would do as he wandered around with his  dog amidst the travelers from the road that day. It was hard to miss it as  they carefully averted their eyes or turned away when he walked by. As I watched, he looked around and walked over to the garbage can reaching in and pulling out part of a meal someone had just thrown away.
He quickly took it pulling it in close to his chest, looking this way ant that before  walking about 20 feet away to opening the bag and eat what he had found. I know some people may be thinking gross or how they would not eat from a trash can. I couldn't help but feel myself grow sad at a world that could make such a young man homeless, with no one other than one small dog to care about him.Finishing my smoke, I made it a point to leave my full drink on the table where he would see it. I didn't want to shame him or make him feel  self conscious as I walked back inside.
Returning to my family who had finished up their meals, I noticed my husband didn't eat a large part of his own chicken dinner, leaving  two pieces of chicken and a biscuit untouched. Taking his tray I quickly ditched it, and took the basket with the food outside hoping I would find the young man before he wandered off.
Walking quickly, out to the table where I had been sitting before, I noticed he hadn't come over and taken the drink, so I grabbed  that as well. He was in the same area where he had been before, just looking around waiting for someone to throw out some more food. With a determined step, I walked over to him, and apologized for  it not being more, handing him both my drink and the basket of chicken. This dirty unkempt young man looked me in the eye and  said, “thank you.” With an honest, sincerity I could hear in his voice.
As I turned and walked away joining my family now sitting at the table outside, watching me, I felt tears in my eyes. As a parent of adult children, I could only feel heartbreak for this young man's life and where it had lead him.
I didn't know his story or history, were he came from, or who he was. I could only think that if it were ever one of my kids in need I hope someone would show some kindness to them. I could only feel sad that with so many people around including a group of Amish eating at a picnic table,how sad it was that as a society no one seemed to care. Although in my heart I wanted to give him what money I had on  me, I have always believed that it was better to give something a person needed. Hopefully someday he will be able to pay it forward and help someone whose path he crosses. So the next time you see someone like my young man, please don't turn away in disgust it could be your son or daughter out there. I know one meal won't save the world, but for one night I knew at least he was not going to go to bed hungry.

Its More then Just a Dream

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As a recently married 46 year old I am in the process of finishing my degree. Working to take care of my family and live my life.Blogging, working, writing, and chugging along like most of us.  Who am I ? I am you, I am me, I am your mother, friend, the best and worst that we each have inside of us. I am a different perspective and find myself fascinated by the interesting moments in life.

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