Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hat in Hand

It seemed like forever as I held the door at the county Human Services building. Each crutch step allowed him to progress about three inches. What have I gotten myself into? Of course my first thoughts were about me; typically selfish to a fault. He was muttering about being late because of the time change. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Daylight Savings had started about three weeks ago. He was wearing tattered sweat pants, a heavy flannel shirt, an Elmer Fudd-esque hunting cap with Tom Cruise style Ray Bans placed on the outside of the ear covers. But the thing I noticed most was the smile on his face. It was huge.

The wonder of the human condition, here I am with seemingly everything going for me, the world at my fingertips, so to speak, yet completely miserable. And here is this physically destroyed human being with a soul that shines so brightly it impacts everyone around him. He entered the lobby and continued to thank me as he said hello to all of the people in the waiting room as well as the employees. Suddenly I found myself grinning. I couldn’t help it; it was like some sort of virus and as I looked around the room it seemed to be spreading.

I had arrived at the building with hat in hand in order to apply for assistance in buying a home through the county. Needless to say, as a college educated individual with a post graduate degree I did not feel that great about the whole process. I should be able to take care of this myself, but frankly, I cannot. The nature of my financial situation because of debt load due to a failed business, divorce settlement and current occupation make me eligible for this program, so what the heck? I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who would not agree with me getting such an opportunity, but they probably would not agree with my gentle friend from the parking lot getting assistance either. Although apprehensive, my appointment went well. I don’t know if I will be accepted into the program or not, but the experience was both humbling and rewarding. The topper was that I had the honor of holding the door for the same man as he exited the building and we continued our conversation about the mysterious loss of an hour. He eventually entered a waiting transport vehicle and I walked to my car with tears streaming down my cheeks. I’m not certain where those tears were born, maybe; just maybe, they were tears of hope for humanity, of hope for renewal, of hope for me.

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