Posted by michelle on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 / Labels: bigger picture
Lately I have been busy.
School started three weeks ago. And I’m already about three weeks behind in grading papers and lesson plans.
I’m training for a race in a few weeks that I’m so not ready for.
Soccer season has started.
And there are appointments, open houses, practices and already sick kids.
And today I noticed something I hadn’t noticed in about a month.
A man living in his van.
Literally down by the river (or technically a lake). I had just parked at the dam and was about to try and ride my bike across the 8 mile stretch . This slightly dirty long haired guy in a old beat up van started to pull all kinds of things out of the back.
Usually this is where I feel my heart being pulled and I can’t not do something.
At least try. In some awkward way to help.
At least, look the guy in the eye and say hello.
Instead, I wasn’t sure. I talked myself out of it.
Maybe he wasn't really homeless and I'd just insult him by offering to help.
Because when he pulled a bike out from the back of his van I told myself maybe he is just a guy with a messy car just like me, and about to go for a ride too.
I knew I was wrong.
But convincing myself that he didn’t need my help, that I shouldn’t really do anything was easier than adjusting my plans, or speaking up.
So I hit the dam.
And realized that this was the first homeless man I have seen in a month.
An entire month.
And not because the poverty issue in my town has magically been resoloved.
The problems didn’t go anywhere.
I just stopped noticing.
Because I was busy. And tired.
And it was easier not to see.
I promised myself that if the guy was still there, that I would talk to him when I came back. Even though I really needed to get back home. Even though I only had a couple bucks on me. Even though I was a little scared.
So after my ride, I pedaled back into the parking lot and saw a lawn chair sitting beside the van with some dirty jeans drying over them.
There was no denying it now.
He lived in his van.
But him and his bike were no where to be seen.
So I loaded up my bike in the back of my husband’s truck.
Slipped my few bucks into his dirty jeans.
And drove off.
No less busy.
But with open eyes.