Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Do You Know the People in Your Neighborhood?

There is a man in my neighborhood that I see almost every day. I see him on my way to work... I see him out for walks... and I see him sitting in the park... For some reason, I wonder about him.

Do you know someone like this? Is there someone that you see at work who inspires you? Is there someone in your neighborhood that makes you wonder what their life is like? Do you wonder what they have been through in their lives that have allowed them to end up in the position that they are in?

This is the man that I see...He is around almost every day. It is so common for me to see him, that on days that I do not see him, I worry about him. I have wanted to talk to him for some time. I am sure that my conversation would NOT go the way I imagine it would, but that is part of what intrigues me even more.

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving home from a shoot.... and there he was... right outside my car. I snapped this image of him and will continue to wonder........ I will wonder and pray. No matter what conditions or actions got him to this place, I pray that God takes care of him. I pray that he finds his way home... where ever that may be.

Today I had the day off... I was thinking about this man, so I decided to try to go find him. There he was again, walking down the street. I was on my way to the daycare, so I thought I would drop the kids off and head back over to talk to him. Of course when I went back to find him, he was gone. I drove by all of the spots I usually see him, but no luck. That is when I saw another neighborhood regular. Jinni.

Jinni sits outside Tully's almost every day. Today she was bundled up, sitting in the rain with her head slumped and not visible. She has so many layers... black plastic, clothes, blanket, more clothes... her shoes are untied, her laces were wet and her legs were swollen. I went into Tully's and asked about her.... I bought her favorite drink for the next time she comes in and headed out to talk to her.

I said her name and waited .... I said her name again and this time her head jumped up quickly. I had obviously startled her and woke her. Her face was weathered and wrinkled, and she had no teeth. She was surprised I knew her name, and at the same time did not ask me how I knew. I wondered how sleepless her night must have been like to allow her to sleep so soundly in the safety of daylight. Without saying much I handed her some money... she thanked me.... and I left. Within seconds her head was back into the safety of her layers... and her mind returned to the escape of sleep.

How is it that we so often drive by people like Jinni and as soon as we pass them, we forget about them. We let ourselves escape to the warmth of our nice SUVs with our lattes and our i pods. I am guilty of doing this as well, but I am challenging myself to change. I am going to try to keep my eyes truly open in my neighborhood and community... we all need to help, we all need to care, we all need to give back.

This Thanksgiving, I would encourage you to remember the people in your community who do not have families to care for them, no warm food for their tables, no pillows to lay their heads. Take some extra food from your cupboard and donate it to your local food bank. Let your kids donate some old clothes. Take a card to a home bound neighbor. There are so many ways we can help, both big and small.

God Bless you and your family this Thanksgiving.

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