There are days when my eyes open on the world and I see things as they are.
I notice the difference immediately because most days my vision is subconsciously selective;
I see the things the way I want to see them.
Today, I saw sadness.
I know, big surprise, huh?
On my way to lunch I saw a woman sitting in the rain by a water fountain and she was crying as she talked softly on her cell phone. I heard her say, “Please just don’t . . . ”
It seemed like I was the only person in the screaming city of Boston that noticed.
I felt bad as I walked by but there was nothing I could do.
Truth be told I’m no saint or archangel but when I notice a situation like this it tends to rattle me.
As a writer maybe I tend to notice a tad more than the general populace does.
I got to South Station tonight and witnessed a homeless woman counting, folding and re-folding what I assumed were her only earthly possessions.
She placed them in a rucksack that looked like it had been dragged through a muddy puddle.
And again, people walked by her without so much as a passing glance.
She was far from invisible and the look on her face told the world at large
that she was the farthest thing from a happy ending.
It was profoundly sad.
If it were another day, I may have just walked by as well, too caught up in my own life.
I sat down on the train and scratched my head wondering what highway to nada leads someone to a hell like this?
Many years ago I waited on a woman that bought her daily ciggies from me.
She always tried to look her best in terms of her hair and the clothes she wore but she could never quite pull it off.
I always felt there would be no hot fudge sundaes in her near future.
One day she stopped coming in and I would wonder for years what ever became of her.
My heart sank the day I saw her pushing a rusty old shopping cart on the sidewalks of South Main Street in a bad section of downtown Worcester.
Her cart was filled with dirty cans and empty bottles that she would undoubtedly redeem to get cash for God only knows what.
She was a broken woman and a sad commentary on a reality I pray I never have to experience.
So, is it selective vision?
Lord knows we all use it from time to time because it’s easier just to look the other way sometimes.
Maybe that’s why we also have days that we ‘see’ the world as it is.
And perhaps that’s what keeps us all just a bit more humble and human in the end.
Say a prayer the next time you see a fallen angel walking the walk.
It can only help.