Yesterday I had to run some errands and on my way home I arrived at a stop light. In front of me was a man who had stopped his car 30 feet away from a traffic signal. No one was in front of him, so I backed up and drove next to him. I rolled down my window and asked him if he was okay. He then rolled down his window and said, “What? Are you talking to me?” I repeated the question and he answered, “Don’t you see him?”
“The man on the corner holding the sign. The homeless guy.” he said.
I looked beyond his car and I saw a man standing holding a sign which read: Out of work. Please help. God Bless!
I turned back to the man and said, “Yes, I see him.”
“Well, I’m so tired of seeing homeless people asking for things that I don’t even want to look at him. When the light turns green, I will go!” The man rolled up his window, the light turned green, and he was gone.
As I was driving home I turned my radio on and Susan Boyle came on singing, “Both Sides Now” and I listened to her sing…
Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
Clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way
But now it’s just another show
And you leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away
I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love
Really don’t know love at all
Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way
But now old friends they’re acting strange
And they shake their heads
And they tell me that I’ve changed
Well something’s lost but something’s gained
In living every day
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all – Written by: Joni Mitchell
When the song finished I thought I couldn’t have picked better lyrics for such a moment. I realized I had just looked at life from both sides now.
From win and lose and still somehow…It’s life’s illusions I recall…I really don’t know life at all! I had just witnessed a man who thought he was on the winning side of the cross walk, and then there was the man who thought he was on the losing side of the cross walk, and when the two sides met, nothing happened. The rich man didn’t want to look at the poor man, and the poor man didn’t look at the rich man. Two men who each had two arms, two legs, a body that held them upright, a head and a heart, couldn’t seem to see that everything else is an illusion. Nothing is ever as it seems.
I turned my car around and I went back. I only had fifty-cents, but figured if he was brave enough to stand on a corner and ask for something… anything, fifty-cents would be just enough.
When I got to the light I reached out my hand and he took the fifty-cents and said, “Lady, you have no idea how many people do what that man just did to me today. Do you know what I think?” he asked.
“What?” I replied.
“I believe that people who do that are afraid to look at me, because maybe— in the back of their mind, they think that could one day be them. I wasn’t always this guy. I lost my job, my home, then my wife. I’ve been trying to get a job, but I’m either over qualified or… get this, I don’t have a mailing address. I’ve lost a few job opportunities because I have no mailing address. I used to be an Engineer, believe me?” he asked
When the light turned green and the traffic behind me started to pile up I said, “Looks like my light is green. I have to go, but remember… if this is the corner where God placed you, than know that He put you here so He can watch over you. I believe that soon, something grand will come along, and when it does you will be blessed to know both sides of life.”
I left and cried the whole way home. Anyone of us can one day wake up and be in his position. Trying to find the corner of the world where we can hold our sign that reads our heart, and if that happens to me… my sign is going to read: “ONWARD BY FAITH!” Because to be honest— I don’t know any other way to go!
I’ve decided that I’m going to print out this prayer, and when I see anyone who is homeless, I’m going to give them fifty-cents, and a copy of: John 16:33 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
And… here’s a little added music to put you in the place I was yesterday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEYyEn78zmI
Now, ONWARD to make my sign!
ONWARD BY FAITH!