This time of the year in Florida, it rains almost daily, and at times it feels as if the heavens are going to open up with the lighting, thunder, and rain that falls like rushing water over a cliff. Unfortunately, depending on where you are, you will experience some flooding, and late yesterday was no different. In anticipation of another day of rain, I went about getting some errands done early in the day and experienced another one of those moments that felt like a jolt that shook me to the core. It made me straighten up in my seat as I stared straight ahead in disbelief; “Oh God, but for your mercies, there go I,” I uttered aloud in the car, waiting at the stop light. At first, I saw the bottom of his booths, and on closer observation, I noticed an arm across his waist, and likewise, his arms embraced the red pile against the length of his frame in which his head was hidden from sight.
It was a couple asleep on the wet, cold sidewalk beneath some trees as their shelter. I am not ignorant of the homeless people around me, but seeing this couple on the cold sidewalk, asleep as traffic rushes by as if the world is oblivious of their presence. It felt like a gut punch. I’m not sure why I had such a visceral reaction. Only God knows what brought them to this. I pray that someone with the resource will show them how to get back on their feet before the day ends. I’m sure some people have fallen through the cracks, while others suffer from mental health issues, which must be difficult for all involved. However, none should become an excuse for them not having the help needed. I looked around to find a parking spot to get to them, but the intersection was busy and without nearby parking. Therefore, I drove away as all the other drivers did, and it wasn’t the first time that I saw people living out in the elements, but this one did something to me that made me want to get off the sidelines to become a part of the solution. I guess maybe with getting closer to the end of life, with my yesterdays in the rear-view mirror as reminders of days already spent. Life should be more than what it brings in personal gratification; it has to be in honor of all of life. One impactful lesson I got as I drove away, they didn’t have the security or comfort of a place to call home, but they had each other even in their homelessness. Some yearned to have someone there for them, no matter what life brings, and it was obvious they had each other. This couple’s obvious affection on the sidewalk for each other is what the Romeos and Juliets’ of this world aspired to, having someone there even under the most adverse conditions in life, and they have each other. Again, I was reminded there are lessons around us in all of life. Even those that make one steel themselves to hold it together on observation; this was another of those moments.