Friday, October 17, 2014

Acknowledging Dan

Tonight one of my daughters told me that what I did was a good thing, and that she was proud of me. I think it was the circumstances of why she made the statement that was remarkable, and also affirming as a parent that our actions are the greatest model of teaching for our kids.

Our Friday nights generally are as lazy as possible.  Wonderfully exhausted from the learning & work week, the routine is to unwind as soon as possible.  This particular evening, the older two were enjoying their schools Friday Night Lights, and we took the younger two to Qdoba.  As my daughters were yapping away while my overstuffed burrito was falling apart, I noticed a man come in and find a seat in corner.  His clothing and condition were extremely poor; he pulled his stained hoodie off of his head and glanced our way. His face appeared hollow.  He looked around quickly and laid his head down.

I tried to return to my meal, and found myself feigning interest in my girls' conversation.  I noticed my wife glancing toward the man just as I was.  Up to this point, I have become proficient in ignoring the needs of those on a street corner holding up a sign that says "homeless - anything helps - and God Bless."  But I felt something different here.  I looked a bit longer, and noticed his head; it appeared that patches of hair weren't growing, and skin was blotched.  Make whatever judgments, but he simply looked malnourished and neglected.  Then he lifted his head and looked around again.  I think he was just waiting for a worker to ask him to leave.

I went over and asked him if he needed some food, and he said yes.  I asked what he would like, and his answer was anything please.  What struck me as I was talking was the look in his eyes, nearly void of all hope. This person needed food.  Sadly- that was his secondary need.  More important, I felt he needed to be acknowledged.  He needed to know that he was not invisible.

I went to the counter and ordered him some food.  The workers there beginning their conversation about how they were going to get him out of there.  I let them know I was buying food for him, and they wouldn't need to escort him out.  I took his food to him, got him a drink, asked his name, and shared my name.  I invited him to enjoy his meal, and left him with a God Bless.

Driving home is when my daughter told me that was a good thing I did, and that she was proud of me.  She acknowledged me, and my value.  And I how couldn't help but think about Dan, and how often he had been acknowledged, and had he ever been told of his value as a human being.

The Master Shift's photo.