Friday, February 19, 2010

I didn’t always hesitate

y family took a recent trip to the mall, my first in almost 2 years. So, I kinda had fresh eyes.

I was overwhelmed at the busyness. And it really seemed so shallow. I don’t mean to judge, it’s just that as I have grown older that kind of shopping has more than lost its appeal: it totally depletes me. Unlike when I was a teen and it was regular, exciting entertainment or when the kids were little and it was something to do, something I even looked forward to.

One thing – er, rather person, I noticed that day continues to haunt me.

The tattered-looking African-American man who walked up the steps looking dazed. I walked around him so as not to make him move. In an odd way, I believe it was an unthinking sign of respect. Not making him walk around me. I have even examined if I was purposefully moving away from him, but I don’t think so. He seemed invisible, engulfed in the white sea. By his smell and trail, he had not known a shower in a very long time. My girls noticed the odor and commented, but I don’t think they saw the person. I told them homeless people don’t have the luxury of regular bathing like we do.

And then he was gone.

I wanted to run back and hand him the $7 and some-odd change I had in my pocket. But I didn’t. I did say a prayer, however.

Even in the car I thought about him and how I could have shown him one person cared. But I didn’t.

I didn’t always hesitate. Accumulating the layers of family and children and responsibility filter my thinking more than it used to and probably more than it should. Or is that merely my excuse?

What I could have done was take him home, feed him, let him bathe and wash his clothes.

Why didn’t I or couldn’t I? That’s not easy to live with.

• Is there a time I missed an opportunity to express love?
• A time when it was harder than with loved ones?
• What prevents me?
• How can I not miss the next opportunity?

the beehive hum
of designer-dressed
moving through
the mall, bags
in hand, jovial

you stood
in such a stark
and clueless

I wonder
how you even
got there

why you were

how you were

I did notice
and gave you
my heart,
but maybe
it should have
been, could
have been

I pray you’ll
haunt me the
next time

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