A couple of days ago, I felt so harried as I ran errands and diligently crossed out my “To-Do” LIst. In between errands, I was able to sneak in an hour of pampering with eyebrow threading and mini-facial. From the spa, I went to do some light grocery shopping at Pavillions. Funny how I went in for some grapes and cherries and I checked out with 4 boxes of cereal – Honey Bunches of Oats, and 3 canisters of Pringles Original among my yummy purchases that day. I couldn’t resist as they were on “special”.
At around 7:00 pm, I stopped by the Post Office on Warner and Goldenwest in Huntington Beach to drop off some mail. The Post Office was already closed but the Drop Box area was still open.
As I walked close to the double glass doors, I noticed from the corner of my eye, that there seems to be a man, crouched behind a big empty terra cotta pot in the corner near the door. I wasn’t quite sure whether it was a pot for plants or if it has become a makeshift trash receptacle as it was rather dark. I immediately felt uneasy but what the heck, there were other people there so I was okay.
On my way out, I passed by that corner and once again, I chose to not look at him and pretend to not see him. I found that very interesting because I ALWAYS make it a point to help every time I see someone in need on the street. I always tell our son to never pass up an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, especially in those who are in need.
As I walked towards my car, it’s as if auto-pilot kicked in and I found myself opening the rear door and started rummaging through my grocery bags to see what I can give this man. I emptied one of the bags and made him a bag of water, food and yes, even a box of cereal and one of the Pringles! Funny… at that point, it made sense why I bought so many of them!
With a grocery bag and a $20 bill, I walked back towards where the man was sitting and it was only then that I noticed he had a cardboard sign and that yes, he was hungry… As I approached him, his head was down and when I said “Excuse Me…” He slowly lifted his head and I saw that he was a very young man… probably in his early 20s.
I gave him the grocery bag and the $20 and I will never forget that look on his face! There was that look of awe and gratitude, that someone actually cared…
I started talking to him and asked him questions. I introduced myself and asked for his name.
His name is Bradley… he’s 23 years old…
The first question that came out of my mouth was… “Do you have a place to stay tonight?” He said: “I have a sleeping bag set up near a ditch and it’s pretty safe…” I felt that ache in my heart that even as I type this right now, I still wonder how can we live in this country of opportunities yet have someone like Bradley and millions of other homeless Americans sleeping on the streets, in park benches, behind buildings. The problem seems to be insurmountable and the interaction is not always this civilized and pleasant.
I then remembered I met a lady, who helps run a homeless shelter for men. I met her in front of Von’s supermarket as we’ve always supported her donation”bucket”. I even wrote a blog post about her 2 years ago. I got a piece of paper, wrote her phone number for him to call her, handed him the paper and the pen so he has something to write things with.
Bradley told me that he doesn’t want to go home because he’s a recovering alcoholic and his parents are both alcoholic and they force him to drink. I asked him if he has other relatives and he said “Yes, my Grandparents live close by and they would love to have me… I am just so embarrassed how my life turned out that I can’t face them… They would die if they know I am in this situation…”
I told him: “GUILT and SHAME are very bad cousins of PRIDE. They are a trap… There must be something that you really want to make out of your life – you are made for a purpose and as long as you believe that and pursue that, you will find it! I suggest you go live with your Grandparents temporarily to regroup and pursue that purpose….”
We talked for a few more minutes as people walked in and out of the Post Office door. Most of them had a perplexed look on their faces on why I was having this conversation with this young homeless man.
I said good-bye to Bradley and reminded him to go where there is love and find strength in that, though temporarily. Realizing that it’s just a stepping stone in the pursuit of his dreams. I suggested for him to get up and find a way to go to his Grandparents.
As I was backing my car out from my parking spot, I saw from my rear view mirror a most beautiful image. Bradley got up, got out of that corner, carrying the grocery bag I gave him. He turned the corner, wave to me and had this huge smile on his face. It was a smile of HOPE.
I just knew that instant that he made a decision. A decision to do something. While I may never know what that decision was. It’s enough for me to know that our short interaction could have potentially made a difference in his life.
If the purpose of my presence in his life, in that brief moment – was to get him out of despair and hopelessness and share a glimmer of hope to him, then I know God’s gift of encouragement has served a purpose.
Bradley inspired me just as much as I have inspired him. We receive what we give.
If you want more clients, you must be willing to invest in other people’s services as well. If you want to be trusted, you must learn to trust…
One of my favorite songs growing up was “Prayer of St. Francis – Make Me A Channel of Your Peace”.
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.
Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we’re born to eternal
On this beautiful Easter weekend, I urge you to find time for Reflection, Renewal, and Re-Birth!
You are a Channel of Peace… My question to you is “How Are You Making A Difference? Who Do You Choose to Leave Better Than You Found Them?”
Cheering You On To Your Success!