Saturday was a wonderfully Raw day! In Santa Monica, I went to RAWvolution. I picked up a great meal, but can't remember exactly what it was. I know I had an onion bread sandwich, which included rich sauce and jerk coconut flesh. I had a stir no-fry and a great dessert as well. Perhaps the details of the meal faded quickly from my memory because of the experience I had earlier that morning--a reminder to be, well . . . mindful.
As I exited the freeway onto Crenshaw Avenue, I noticed a homeless man standing at the light on my side of the street. No surprise--there's almost always someone there selling roses or just asking for spare change. This man--an obvious alcoholic--was old. There was no convincing me that he wasn't somebody's grandpa. If I've learned anything from watching A&E's Intervention each week, it's that every addict has a story; every addict is or was someone's beloved.
My plan was to put on my mascara at the light, but I first emptied out my car's change holder, rolled down the window and dropped the coins in his cup. He shuffled over and smiled his thanks at me. I, of course, wished him a good day and yanked out my mascara wand.
As I was applying the black gunk, I noticed the driver next to me had also rolled down his window. A handsome young black man, he drove a new and very clean Lexus, of the expensive sort. He reached out and dropped a crisp dollar bill into the man's cup, and I was glad to see him do it. (I hope I'm not cheating him out of more credit. I couldn't see the denomination.)
And then the young man did something that hadn't occurred to me, not once in all the times I've given money to those who ask. You see, I'm usually in a rush to get to the next thing, but he wasn't. The young man extended his hand through the car window, shook the older man's hand, and exchanged eye-to-eye words with him. In doing all this, there was no sense that he was hurried. When they were done, the old man shuffled back to his corner, and the younger man looked back at me and nodded his acknowledgement.
And I felt like a bit of a creep. I was so focused on prettifying, I hadn't given all I had to give. Sure, I'd donated the change that I'd later need for the parking meter, but I hadn't given my presence and attention and love. Next time I will.
Note to those of you thinking that man's just going to go buy a bottle with that money: that's his prerogative. I pray that he finds another path to peace, but in the meantime I hope he collected enough cash to get him through the day.
Keep your mind in the moment.
***Graphic from feedfivethousand.com