Has anyone read the book by Patti Digh called Life is a Verb? I read it. It’s been a while though, a long while maybe even two years the way time goes. However there was one chapter and lesson that will pop into my mind every so often. It’s chapter 4, Inclusion: Be Generous. In this chapter Patti talks about a homeless man who lived in the woods near her neighborhood. She will get to a part where her girl spots him on the street and rolls down the window and begins to enthusiastically wave while saying “hi nice man” and how in that instant his face changes, human to human contact is made and the girl, she taught a lesson as often they do. It’s about humanity and treating others as such, making the eye contact, smiling, waving. It’s a fine line, it really is because as women we have to also be careful. In this world bad things happen so we are often guarded.
The strangest part and the reason why I remember this chapter above all other chapters is because nearly right after reading about her story and examples and getting an action assignment to work on for that week, I woke up one morning and our front door was swung wide open, this part is very normal. Motorcycle man likes to open the front door wide so Max can greet the morning, smell the air, spot some city squirrels and so the front door, it was WIDE open and as I got up from the dining table after sipping my first few sips of coffee and having my quiet time, I walked towards that wide open front door. Do you know what I saw?
I’m not making this up, its real in every since of the word real, or at least it was to me, there was a homeless man standing right in the pathway to my front door, facing my front door even as if he was waiting for me to come. I think my look must have been that of a deer in headlights, but then I looked at him directly in the eyes and I said “good morning” and he smiled and his voice was really deep and raspy and he said “good morning” right back! I think I surprised him as much as he surprised me. You see, I have never ever seen a homeless man in my very own front yard ever or since. It was just really strange and it felt like a test. I passed in some ways but in other ways I feel as if I failed. My heart wanted to offer him coffee, invite him in talk about God’s love and things like that but all I did was say “good morning” I will say, it was real to me, but I also wonder at times if it was an angel or a strong figment of my imagination. Only I don’t think so really because motorcycle man was right behind me when it all went down and he quickly went into protection mode, “can I help you?” he said, and the man said “no” and kept right on walking. It’s one of those things I don’t think I can forget, because it was a true lesson on how to treat others like they are equal, human and loved. It’s not very hard but then again it is. I think we are often afraid and rejection is a big factor too. We should watch our littles, because they have not been tainted by life’s disappointments and disasters quite yet and they are free with their hearts and love. Even my littlest and only girl will sit in the backseat of my jeep with her cousin and they will wave and shout hello to strangers and they get tickled pink when others wave back and say hello. So I watch them and try to remember we learn from our children because we forget when we grow old, we forget how important it is to be loving and open.