Friday, May 16, 2008
The Invisible Man
Last Saturday my middle son Jullien really upset me when I picked him up. He said some pretty mean things to me, so I dropped him off at the house and just took off for some alone time (I needed to cry a little). I drove through Taco Bell, picked up some food and headed to a store where I was going to buy some crafts to make some Mother's Day gifts. I pulled up in front of the store and parked and just sat there eating.
As I looked around, (feeling a little sorry for myself), I noticed a guy with long tangled silver hair, a short white scraggly beard, an old black leather jacket, and torn blue jeans. He was standing up, leaning with his forehead pressed against the wall. I had some time to just observe while I finished my lunch, (which is very rare for me to have TIME). So I just watched, wondering if anyone would ask him if he was okay. The first couple that went by was probably in their 20's and didn't even glance in the man's direction. A couple of ladies in their thirties also proceeded to walk past the man, (who had not moved or changed positions for about 10 minutes), again not even a look towards him. The same thing happened about six more times. The way everyone just strolled by, made me wonder if the man was a figment of my imagination.
After about 20 minutes I got to the point that I was hoping and praying that someone would just LOOK at the man. With each new person I thought, "Surely they will at least see that he is there and may need help." Finally, a mother, with a short brown bob haircut, tan shorts, and a white floral blouse, and her daughter (about 3 years old), who looked like a miniature cut out version of the mother, went walking right past him. The mom seemed to notice the man only because her young daughter had lagged a little behind and she was concerned for her daughter's
safety. The daughter on the other hand, seemed to notice that something was wrong with the man and stopped to stare at him. The mother quickly grabbed her daughter's hand and dragged her away, while the daughter continued to look back at the man.
Next, a cute, plump, elderly husband and wife in their 80's walked by, they too, both looked directly at the man and then continued to look as they walked by, with a quick glance back before they entered the store. The man had still remained in the same position. About 10 more people in their 20's, 30's and 40's passed the invisible man.
As I finished the last few bites of my burrito, I thought, "Why was the man only visible to the young and the elderly?" Were they the only one's that were not too busy to see another person who may be hurting? How had my generation become so insensitive and self absorbed that they could not even SEE someone who may need them?
I got out of my car, and headed towards the man. I stopped and said, "Is everything okay? Do you need some help?" He looked up from the wall, smiled a toothless grin and said, "I'm just trying to figure a few things out on this cell phone, but thanks anyways." I said, "Good luck, they can be a little tricky in the beginning, have a great day!" He said, "You got that right, thank you, you too!" He seemed so happy that someone had spoken to him. He continued to smile as I headed into the store.
The invisible man did not need my help today, but what if he had? Did it take a lot of effort on my part to look at him and see if he needed some assistance? I hope that we can be like the young children and the elderly....that we will be able to SEE someone directly in our path. You may be the one person who can brighten that persons whole day. It requires only a little effort, concern, and time....but the rewards you will receive from a simple smile on a sad, tired, broken face, is amazing! Go out and notice the invisible men and women standing right in front of you!