17 May 2015
My life felt like a test. I was like God’s personal guinea pig, and by my junior year of high school I couldn’t take it anymore. It was my third school in three years with a new set of dull classes, new overly eager teachers, and a completely new city in which I had heard been described as “a bubble” where everyone absolutely “loves to live” and no one ever leaves. Yet here I was three weeks in this city and I just wanted to get out. It was all very cliquey with the students, but also the teachers. Good grades on my assignments were few and far between but I just couldn’t find the drive to start all over again and put my head into the work; I ...view middle of the document...
I felt like I was looking into two completely separate worlds. In one was the promise of crisp cool air conditioning and a vast array of snacks guaranteed to raise my cholesterol. In the other was the homeless man, alone on this warm, slightly muggy Saturday afternoon, with nowhere to sit and cool off with his pup.
After I grabbed my snacks, I walked back to my car and thought about that man and his dog. I went back. I crossed the street and rounded the corner and found him sitting down on the raised sidewalk in front of a store in hopes that when someone opened the door he would get the residual cool air that swept through the entryway. I had thought this man to be about fifty years old; however, up close he looked no more than thirty. I placed a $50 bill in his hand. What happened next left a mark on my soul.
He had piercing green eyes. The color green you see the day after a good rain where all the plants are nourished and alive again. He looked at me with the deepest gratitude I have ever known, it was like an unexpected gush of wind that knocked me over. He folded his hands and bowed his head as he looked at me as if to say a prayer, and then hugged his dog, but it was his eyes. Never in my life have I witnessed such an abundance of raw, honest, gratitude in a person’s eyes. I suddenly felt shame. He seemed holy in that moment, completely vulnerable, special; I, on the other hand, felt insignificant, and small. He saw himself as beneath me. He saw that myself, and others, could somehow decide his fate, and choose to bestow upon him food or money as we see fit.
I turned and started to...