Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Different Perspective

I often get so busy in life I do not see the beauty around me. Oh sure, I noticed the gorgeous sunset this evening as I left the high school after a meeting. I enjoyed the view of the zillions of azaleas that have burst into bloom all around our area. And I chuckled at a cute little boy yesterday.

But last week as I left the library, I saw one of the homeless guys who hangs around there. The homeless shelter is next door to the library so we have our 'regulars'. Some have even helped out moving books for us when we needed some muscle. One of them, M, is an extremely intelligent man who will work for books. No kidding, he doesn't ask for money, he asks for books. And when he does have money, he spends it on books. He is erudite, articulate and . . . homeless. I don't know why, and don't know his back story. He has told several of us different stories, so none of us are quite sure. But because sometimes his stories cross from interesting to extremely fanciful, we tend to not take him very seriously. He reminds me of a lot of my former defense clients. He's basically a good natured guy with a penchant for embroidering the truth -- a bit of a con man, but pretty harmless.

So as I drove away from the library, I saw him lounging down on the corner and waved. He returned the wave and I drove on. I wondered in my mind, 'why does he live that way? He's so smart, I bet he could be doing something different.'

And immediately the Lord gave me the thought.  Forty-some years ago this man was somebody's young boy, with all the promise and hope of youth. No one would have looked at his 4 year old smile and thought this would be his life at age 50. And I suddenly had a mental picture of what he might have looked like . . . and I smiled. Hopefully I'll carry that image with me when I next see him, and will be more patient with him, and less judgmental.

In the next couple of days, as you see young children, see if you can imagine where or who they'll be.  Or, when you see someone grown, imagine what their 4 year old grin looked like. I think it will make you look at people differently, maybe even more compassionately.

What do you think?


Sweet Tea said...

That's the way I think when I see people who have made terrible life choices. No one simply wakes up one morning and decides to be homeless, in jail, etc...Then I always wonder about their family. Are their parents still living? Siblings? Is there anyone that could have their back if they wanted help. I have a friend who has a brother who she suspects is homeless somewhere. She has tried to find him but he has chosen to disappear...You have a kind heart and obviously look at those you meet through God's eyes.

Mary said...

If we all took the time to look at people in a different way, I think we would all be more compassionate. Another wonderful post!

quilly said...

Interestingly enough, I was thinking along a similar path today. Life doesn't always follow the path we think it anticipated or planned for, does it?

SouthLakesMom said...

Sweet Tea - I wish I was more compassionate and did see them that way more often. I'm usually in too much of a hurry. Lord, slow my footsteps!

The "Quiet" One... said...

I orginally came over to read your Random dozen - which I liked a lot - and got caught up in this post. Wonderful and a really good way to remember that we are more alike than we are different. Great to "meet" you and I will be back!