While out walking the dog’s this morning we came across three people on ATV’s all of which gave us a nod, smile or a waive. It got me thinking, what is a smile, nod or waive? For me it’s the sense of acknowledgement. This morning’s acknowledgement may have been more like “thanks for moving out of our way”, but still implied “I see you”.
Do you know that feeling? It feels really good right? One of the guy’s from our morning walk gave a a “special waive”, you know the kind that makes you inadvertently feel like part of the group. Had they have waived if we weren’t seemingly two young kid’s walking their dog’s? Say we wore ragged clothes, had messy hair and were holding the hands of our homeless children.. would they have still waived, giving us a sense of acknowledgement?
We come from a big city where homelessness is something you see alot of. You can drive downtown and see adults, children, teens and people with their pet’s who are forced to call the streets home. I had the privilege of volunteering with a group who would gather clothes, shoes, winter gear, hygiene kits, and make burritos for people without homes. We would walk down the main street to the shelter and pass thing’s out to the hundreds of people sitting outside. On my first outing I’m embarrassed to admit that I was afraid. “Aren’t most of them on drug’s?” “What if someone tries to steal something of mine?” I thought as I tucked my wedding ring into my pocket. As we continued on I started talking to people “are you hungry?” “Do you need gloves?” People seemed to come from every direction hoping to get what they desperately needed. At one point we (the volunteers) found ourselves asking each other “are you hungry?” In which they replied “oh I’m volunteering”. They were us, we were them.. there was no difference other than tattered clothes and a few who were faced with mental illness or possibly drug’s. One lady caught my eye, she was sitting on the curb wearing a green and yellow wind breaker smoking a cigarette. I walked up to her and held out a hygiene kit. In her eye’s I saw my mom, she was surely someone’s mom, someone’s daughter, someone’s friend. She thanked me for the kit and without a thought I uttered the word’s “I want you to know that you are gorgeous, please take care of yourself okay?” She started to cry as did I. I walked back to the group and felt a sense of being overwhelmed. So many people and all I could do was talk to them and hand out some necessities the team had provided. At the time It felt as if it wasn’t enough. The next outing I scoured the street’s for my newly found friend but she was nowhere in sight. Was she okay? Why wasn’t she here? Hoping I’d run into her, she was on my mind the whole outreach. Could it have been possible that a total stranger showing kindness and acknowledging another, change a life? Spark a sense of worth in that individual? I want to believe so!
I never saw her again and I don’t know what became of her. I know that moment we shared ment alot to her as it did me and she will forever be a vivid memory in my mind.
What is a smile, nod or a waive? It’s a simple thing that can change a whole lot. Thank you for reading, I hope this inspires you to do something courageous today ♡