More time passes.
I think it was late November. I know it was cold outside. I was working as a delivery driver for a company set up near Metro Airport. They sent me into downtown Detroit to deliver a package. When I finished I was told to wait. That meant they wanted me to sit out there in case a call to pick up a package came in from that area.
I went to Burger King. Went inside to eat. I read my book while I ate. Don’t waste a minute. Always have a book ready. Reading and waiting. My beeper kept silent.
After a while, for no real reason, I decided to go out to the van and read out there. It was starting to get dark, but I had a light in the van. On my way, I noticed a person walking up the sidewalk toward me. At first I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. Turns out it was a woman. She was carrying a large cloth bag full of what looked like clothes and blankets. She was swallowed up in a dirty, oversized, puffed up coat with a big hood. Under that were what looked like bed sheets and scarves, wrapped all around her. It made her look a lot bigger than she was.
We made eye contact. I said “Hi.”
She had on thick glasses. They were chipped and cracked, covered with smudgy fingerprints. I wondered how she could see through them..
Me: How are you doing today?
She walked up to me. She was filthy and she smelled pretty bad. She just stared at me for what seemed like quite a long time. I wasn’t sure she was going to say anything at first. But then she talked, really fast. She was a little hard to understand. Something like...
Her: I’m good, I’m good. Just a little tired. Good. Not bad. Just a little tired. It’s kind of cold. Are you cold? It’s kind of cold out here. I have a coat. I’m a little tired. It’s getting dark. I’ve got a coat. Did you eat in there? Are you hungry? I’m kind of tired.
Me: Yeah, I just ate. Are you hungry? Can I get you a hamburger?
Her: No. No. No. Don’t need a hamburger. My foot hurts. I’m a little tired. It’s getting kind of dark. I have my coat. What are you doing out here. Are you cold? Why are you out here?
Me: I’m just working. I had a burger. Are you sure I can’t get you something to eat?
Her: No. No. I’m just a little tired. Don’t need a hamburger. Don’t need it.
Me: Do you have somewhere to go?
Her: Oh, yeah. I got me somewhere to go. I know where I am. I’m just a little tired. I don’t need a hamburger. I got my coat. I’m good. I’m good. Just a little tired.
Me: Okay. Well you have a good night then and be careful out here.
Her: Oh yeah. I’m good. I know where I’m at. I’m just a little tired. You be careful too.
Me: Thank you.
Her: Alright then. Good night.
Me: Good night.
I got in the van and watched her walk away. She shambled on, talking to herself. I think I had interrupted her. Her bag kind of flopped around a bit as she walked, but it didn’t seem to bother her.
She did seem a little tired...
So. It all makes me wonder how far gone you have to be before everyone writes you off. Some people are very secure no matter what they say or do. They have family. They have a net. But, other people, not so much. Some have very little room for weakness or failure in their lives. No net.
We all have things that cause someone to write us off. You don’t look a certain way or talk a certain way so there are people who don’t want to be around you. You don’t know certain things, so there are people who don’t want to be around you. We all go through this kind of thing.
But there are many people who have essentially been written off by practically everyone. Some of them are sick, physically or mentally. Some of them never learned to cope. Some of them have earned their isolation with destructive behaviors. I know how it works. But I’m just saying. It’s easy to forget that these people, overcome with conflict on the outside, fear and confusion on the inside, are just people. Nothing more, nothing less.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010