So, there’s a guy who stands out the front of our Coles who sells the Big Issue.
He doesn’t have the straightest teeth. In fact, some of them are missing. And yet his constant smile beams – despite the shadow he always seems to stand in. As he waits for punters to purchase.
I often stop for a bit and chat. The weather. The swell. The bus route. He gives my youngest a lollypop, I part with $6 and leave with a great read under my arm and a warm feeling in my heart.
That I am helping him and so many others like him, trying to step out from the shadow of homelessness. To help them help themself.
I saw him again last Thursday. Him as bright as ever. But for some reason, I looked down. I didn’t want to meet his smiling eyes. It had been a quiet week of work for me and for some reason, and from somewhere, I thought – not this week.
And I justified this thought to myself. With more crazy self-talk. Backing up off the school holidays. Term 2 fees for everything due this week. Yep – I’m truely skint. Can’t afford it this week….
And I didn’t look at him.
I just pretended he wasn’t there.
“Lollypop for the young man?”
Some 90 seconds later, I’m about to drop $7 on a punnet of blueberries that wouldn’t even make the car ride home. I’m a sucker for anti-oxidents and it’s one of the few healthy things my lad self-selects. I feel like a successful parent when he eats them.
It dawned on me so abruptly. The slap of reality across my face.
I’d stepped out of a car with seat warmers and central locking. Both of which still work. Between the soles of my feet and the earth were a $400 pair of Campers. I had Prada sunglasses on my head and a kashmir shawl from Turkey around my waist.
Life is pretty damn awesome and I am one of the most blessed people I know. I have a roof, a full belly and a family who I adore. And adore me right back.
And I had considered $6 too high a price to pay a homeless man for a magazine.
Think inversions, twists and metta meditation.
There is always someone better of than you. And there’s always someone a damn side worse off than you.
Sometimes the mind can wander around in our own drama so much that unconscious thoughts we never knew existed can float to the surface. I was embarrassed and ashamed of mine. Until I acknowledged it.
And owned it.
And went and bought the latest edition from a bloke who has some shadows. And owns them.
Just like me.