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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wherein I Throw Gratitude Out to the Universe, or I Really Hadn’t Meant to Learn Anything


The late summer streets are full of the dirty and the desperate, the lonely, the dentally bereft.  Their bags at their feet, cardboard signs on their laps, they offer blessings and pleas in exchange for your spare coins.

Anything Will Help.

I sidestep them, try not to look at their belongings, their dogs.

I am looking for one man.

I find him on my third block up the bus route.  His age is hard to guess, the knuckles of his hands large and twisted.  His hair has not been cut in years, his long white/yellow beard plaited and hanging mid-torso.

I owe this man something.

It was last Friday that we had met, a day on which the weight of the changes in my life these past four months fell through my chest and left a hollow, aching cavity.  The remnants of my heart made a booming sound in my ears, and the noise of the city had been reduced to an alien buzz that made no sense to me.

I had been wounded, and no one around me knew.

“Ma’am?”

The man was seated, and I had walked right into his legs.  Our eyes met.

And he saw me.

He held out his hand.  “It’s a beautiful day,” he said, gently.

I nodded.  My throat closing, I continued to nod.

He set his sign down.  “It’s a beautiful day,” he repeated.  “Say it.”

“It’s a beautiful day,” I whispered, tears running down my face.  I swallowed repeatedly, pulled my favorite hankie, the purple and cream one, from my purse and dabbed my eyes.  “My bus is coming,” I said, clumsily.  I turned away.

“Bless you,” he called after me. 

Today, I find him where I had found him last, seated near the IDS Center.

I reach into my purse where I have stashed a five.  I approach him, hold it out, and he takes it with eager fingers.

“You smiled at me last Friday,” I say.  The wind is gusting, and my carefully styled hair blows up, over, around.  My skirt and jacket, carefully matched the night before, do the same.  “You said some kind things, and it made a big difference in my day.”

He stares at the five, then up at me.

“Well bless you, child,” he says, smiling.

“No,” I say, backing away from him and toward the bus stop.  “You.”

54 comments:

Perpetua said...

Only a short post, but it says so much, Pearl and left me with tears in my eyes. Beautiful. I do hope things go better for you soon.

Simply Suthern said...

Strength can come from the oddest places.

Entertaining Angels unaware.

Shelly said...

Beautifully poignant. We're all in this life together, and that you made the effort to connect with him is amazingly lovely.

(((Pearl)))

R. Jacob said...

You needed a hug and a pat on the back and you got both. A nice gesture on your part.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

beautiful. simply beautiful

SherilinR said...

beauty and kindness can be found anywhere when you're not too snobby to see them.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Face it, you have a sweet heart.

Even when it's hard for you to see it life has a way of handing you a mirror. Your thank you was well given.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Oh my! You made my day better by writing this post.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Oh Pearlie....what a lovely reminder that everyone has something to offer even if it's only a smile and a kind word. So sorry you are struggling right now. Your words have often lifted me up and helped me brace myself for the day. If I can do anything for you, please let me know.

Pearl said...

Thank you for all the kind words. Some days are true struggles, and the man on Nicollet saw that. It was strangely wonderful -- and powerful -- to have one person, out of so many, see the pain in me like he did...

Joshua said...

I'm not...I just have something in my eye.

esbboston said...

&^)

SparkleFarkle said...

God bless you indeed, Missy Pearl. Kindness is the key. The homeless or any of us living in desperation, were not always that way nor would we choose that destination.

"Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." ~Attributed to both T.H. Thompson and John Watson

BamaTrav said...

Was that Jesus?

vanilla said...

A hurting lady and a derelict old man-- *stunned*

fmcgmccllc said...

Love the purple and cream hanky, purple is my favorite color. Bless you both. You are a good woman.

savannah said...

much love to you, sweet sister pearl. xoxoxoxox

TexWisGirl said...

he was an angel - if only for that moment - and now, you, his.

Suldog said...

Lovely story. God bless you, and him.

mary i said...

Perhaps it is as Bama Trav says. Thank You for the many things you offer me each Day. Pearl: if only more people(cant reach my hankie) were as Real as you... Well any way Have a Good Day. You are truly a good Soul. Hello from another place in Alabama.

MommaRock said...

Touched me deeper than I wanted it to. Crying like a babe, this made me think that I can get through the sh*t that is tearing my daughter from me.
bless you!

Laoch of Chicago said...

Fine post.

Ian Lidster said...

You do poignancy so brilliantly, my dear. YOu moved me profoundly. I think I love you. Hope you don't mind.

Indigo Roth said...

Love this tale x

Damon Rallis said...

Damn it Pearl. Must you keep making me cry at my desk?

Douglas said...

One sometimes finds there is wisdom in the street. He saw what you needed and offered what he had.

The Jules said...

Hope it was a beautiful day Pearl.

x

Sextant said...

The human spirit dwells in all of us and some times we become angels, and sometimes we need angels.

I hope that you find the strength to deal with the problems that life has handed you...may you find your angels as you need them. This I can tell you, although I am new to your blog, I believe that every day you put a smile on a lot of faces with not only your wonderful wit but your candor. That, my dear, is angelic. Bless you indeed.

Paula Wooters said...

A lovely tale, Pearl. Wishing you and your sidewalk benefactor many blessing!

Joanne Noragon said...

The one day at a time part is the worst. All those days it takes to put the past further into the past. The help along the way.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I'm so sorry for the heartbreak you've had lately, Pearl. It's interesting, isn't it, how sometimes in the midst of one's misery, there is an unexpected comfort or moment of gentleness that makes one wonder if there might not be angels on this earth. Encountering this man was a blessing and seeking him out again was such a good thing to do. I hope it helped your wounded heart both times!

Linda O'Connell said...

What a wonderful heart, both of you!

bill lisleman said...

Pearl you shared more than a story of words, you shared that feeling of kindness. thanks

Gigi said...

Pearl, you made me cry. Sometimes strangers see what those nearer to us do not. This stranger not only saw it but acknowledged it. Hugs, my friend. If you need a shoulder, I'm only an email away.

klahanie said...

Pearl, this is life at its purest and most profound.
And on this poignant day, take care of you and all of you.
Gary

Pat Tillett said...

What a tender and thought provoking post Pearl. They may be homeless, they may be unsavory to look at, but they are still people and many of them have something to say and something to give.

Sioux said...

THIS would make a wonderful Chicken Soup story. For what collection, I don't know. But this story is a keeper in so many ways.

Usually, Pearl, you make tears of laughter come out of my eyes. The tears today...different.

Gorgeous, powerful post.

jenny_o said...

(((Pearl)))

Anne of Green Gables called them "kindred spirits". Notice "kindred" has "kind" in it?

Camille said...

*sniff* dab-dab *sniff*
Love you Pearlie Girl

Rose L said...

When you are dragging in despair a kindness means so much. I am also going through great difficulty and trying to make decisions which will affect my life. It is scary as it means at 60 starting with nothing. I may change my mind, who knows. It is frightening to lean over a cliff and look down...

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

This is so beautiful Pearl, it brought tears to my eyes. God bless you AND this kind, gentle man. This is what humanity is about.
It is a beautiful day.



www.incomingbytes.blogspot.com

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

This is a story of two people connecting in a most genuine and touching way. I hope you find some new healing each day.

Cloudia said...

love your title, wherein you delight me with the word 'wherein'


Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^=

> < } } ( ° >

The Elephant's Child said...

Tears for you both. And hugs ditto. Thank you Pearl. I so hope that life improves for you - soon. You matter so much to so many of us.

Beach Bum said...

Best post I have read in a week or two.

Beach Bum said...

I mean the best post anywhere.

Pat said...

A big cyber hug Pearl. You know things will get better,xox

River said...

angels are all around us, and last Friday one of them found you. I'm glad you thanked him.

CarrieBoo said...

That was incredible, Pearl. When people who have nothing still give, it really shows you something... the other side of humanity, I suppose. Wish you didn't have to feel that way in the first place. Beautiful job.

ellen abbott said...

Support can come from the most unexpected places.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Stopped by for a laugh. You left me with something better. Thanks.

wendy house said...

beautiful - story and wrting

Daisy said...

Bless you both. Thank you for sharing this Pearl, and your pain. I hope it lessens with time and as you discover your new path.

Jocelyn said...

One of your best posts ever. And I'm crying.

No coincidence.

Listen to the man, Pearl. He knows that, no matter how deep the ache in your chest, it's a beautiful day.