Sunday, April 4, 2010

Love the Invisible

How often do you reach out to another human?

On Good Friday, I was at Penn Station.  A homeless man politely approached me and asked for money.  His pitch was eloquent, heartfelt, and with wonderful eye contact.  I was marveled by his intelligence. 

Liquor seeped from his breath, and a cane supported his frail body, but I couldn’t help but wonder what his story was.  If he were a character in my script or novel, what would I learn from him?  What would his arc be?  But this man wasn’t fiction.  He was real, and he indeed needed help. 

Instead of handing him a ten dollar bill that would have most certainly been spent on more moonshine, I offered, "Let me buy you lunch."  I wanted to take him into the restaurant so he could choose what most appealed to him, but he explained the homeless weren't allowed.  

As I stood on line waiting for food, I glanced back at him, propped against the wall.  People were passing by, as if he didn’t exist.  He was invisible.  Totally invisible.  My heart broke. 

With a bag of warm nourishment, I returned and held out his hot lunch.  As he reached for it, I looked him in the eyes and said, "I love you."  He was astonished.  A tear rolled down his cheek, "I don't remember the last time someone said that to me.”  I simply repeated, “I love you.”  A sweet smile rose across his parched lips as he declared, “I love you too."  

I smiled and walked away, never to see him again.  But for that one day, that one moment, I hope he felt loved.  Those three words were more nourishing to him than any amount of food. 

Try spreading love and see what joy comes back to you.