I have a friend who works downtown on the square and can see the park outside her front door where I interviewed and visited with so many of the homeless. She knew Jack, the vet I wrote about here.
She copied the post I wrote about him and gave it to him when she saw him next in the park. She watched him read it and said he teared up and was so thrilled with it. He asked her to make a lot of copies and he gave them away. He was so happy!
I pondered on this. It didn't matter to him that I didn't believe everything he said or that I said he looked like he had lived a hard life. I think what made him so happy was that someone took the time to write about him and the visit he had with two who took an interest. He had it in writing to hold onto.
I believe he was so happy because the story validated him, it showed he was a real person, it showed that someone enjoyed talking with him, it gave him a sense of value.
Isn't that what we all want; to be validated, to know that we matter somehow, somewhere, to someone, that we have value. My husband and I did nothing special or out of the ordinary. We just talked with him like he was a normal human being, like he was our neighbor. We shook his hand. When he teared up, I touched his arm in a caring manner. I laughed when he was funny, and I showed concern when he shared something sad. Simple, and yet meant so much to him.
Why did I use to hold back these simple things from the strangers in my path who needed it so much? I guess in my own quiet way, I shunned the ones who others shunned just because I was scared. . .I didn't know better. We came before the Lord dirty and smelly, stinking of sin, sin filthy as rags, and yet He was standing there by our sides the whole time waiting for us to come. And when we did, He came right in! And remember how you felt? I do. Loved, worthy, noticed, validated, valued. Just like Jack. I know better now. I'm not scared anymore. I'm so thankful for lovely days in the park with new friends. Thank you Jack!
Love one another with brotherly affection. . .