Seattle is a beautiful city when it’s dark, gloomy and raining, but even more so, when it’s not. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the drizzles.
On this one particular weekend trip, it had been raining on and off since the time we landed. I was under the weather before the trip started. We ventured out as much as we could, but in a limited fashion. Most of the trip so far included visits to places under a cover.
On the morning of the day we were departing, the clouds parted and the sun shone through. It was a beautiful day to be outside and we sure made the most of it.
We had a good 4 hours to enjoy the outdoors before we flew back home. To cover much ground, we rented bicycles to tour the city. As we were headed to the fountains outside the Space Needle, I witnessed a peculiar homeless man. I rode my bicycle around the block another time to get a closer look at what he was up to. I finally stopped my bike across the street and watched the scene unfold.
The homeless man lay on the sidewalk, wincing in pain. There were many people, walking around him. Couples, runners, children – enjoying the weather.
The man was completely ignored. Or maybe he was dismissed from their peripherals.
I can only imagine how he must’ve felt. Like another speck of dirt or trash on the sidewalk. He did a great job of not wearing it on his sleeve.
Reflecting on it further, the experience of the homeless man for everyone walking around him must not have been experiencing anything new. Similarly for the homeless man, this experience wasn’t new; he is used to being ignored in society.
So an experience occurs when the events unfolding affect us and are relatively new to us.
A few years ago, I moved within half mile of the beach. In this time, I’ve visited the beach more than 100 times. After a few visits, the sensations of the sand massaging my feet, the sun beating down on my bald head, the birds sailing across the ocean and the waves crashing onto the rocks become old and mundane. It no longer is an experience, it is no longer memorable. Rather, I find new events every time I walk along the beach to make that particular trip memorable.
The scene unfolding before me on that eventful day in Seattle was not an experience any more. It was old and mundane and was dismissed as a daily and habitual occurrence by everyone involved in the scene.
It was rather appalling for me to witness the scene before me.
How could one being not care for another being?
What was happening to the heart of this cold world we live in?
Where is the love that emanates within our hearts and the compassion we reserve for our close ones?
A moment of acknowledgement was all it took to make this man smile again.