Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Humbling Experience

It's amazing what kinds of wisdom you can learn on the street, if you are open. Or in this case, even if you aren't open. My good friend and I were taking the pup for a very long walk to the park. On our way back we were about to cross paths with a bum, who was walking in the opposite direction. Now for someone who believes herself to be full of compassion, I felt that very knee-jerk reaction that one gets upon crossing paths with a "less fortunate." That metal struggle of, do I look away? Do I smile then look away? Dare I make eye contact? Please, please don't ask me for anything. I don't have any money...

Right before, and actually during said internal conflict occured, Kim and I had been joking and smiling and laughing. It was a lovely day, after all. The bum smiled at us, and burst out something to the effect of he saw our smiles, or ourselves from a block back and wished he'd had sunglasses. "Beautiful!" He said, "Thank you for that!" and clasped his hands together and did a kind of funny little bow from the knees. I felt a humble little smile grow from the inside and find its way across my face and bowed back, equally awkwardly, "No thank you!" And we proceeded to pass each other with other little bows and head bobs.

The fellow was still babbling appreciative compliments at our backs as we kept walking, and I couldn't help but laugh at this impish, smiling man who made me smile and asked for nothing in return. I was instantly humbled. What can I give to others even when I feel I have very little for even myself? Can I at least offer a simple moment of recognition? A smile? a simple compliment?


Anonymous said...

i love this post.

silverfish said...

Thanks :)
I love the inspiration for this post. It made me happy.