Today I lead a busy day, like most every other day, but found myself touched by a specific individual I didn’t even know. After an early and filled day with clientele at the gym, I headed off to go teach at City Hall downtown Reno for the Shape Up Program I’ve had the pleasure of being a major part of.
|When people love us even in the shadows of our darkness,
they shine on to us their light…
On my way I decided to stop at Walgreens to buy some cold water for the hot outdoor bootcamp about to take place! On my way in, I noticed a young man who was covered in dirt and a somber look on his face. He was probably about 20-25 years old. As I passed him, I smiled and couldn’t help but think about him when I got into Walgreens. I looked around for something to buy him, and felt lost. I didn’t want to offend him, but wanted to help at the same time. I decided on Trident gum (I know he hasnt brushed his teeth), Gatorade (every man loves the red kind), water, and mixed nuts (high in caloric density).
As I walked out, he politely aqsked me if I had a dollar to give him to catch the bus. I informed him that I did not have cash, but instead handed him the bag telling him I purchased those things for him. He seemed taken back before he looked at me square in the eyes, and I could see the person underneath the filthy external appearance and the unapproachable demeanor I saw when I walked in to the store. He thanked me. I said “you’re welcome” as I walked only a short distance to my car. Looking back at him, I watched a college-aged couple throw a quarter at him and heard it bounce to the ground; obviously in the most demeaning and cynical way. The young man did not say anything, but instead went to pick up the quarter silently. I felt horrible for him. My heart could not let me just rush off to teach my class; even though I had only 15 minutes left to get there and set up.
So, I found a receipt in my car, and wrote down a website that I felt could inspire this young man. WWW.ETINSPIRES.COM. One of my favorite motivational speakers and life coaches that was once himself homeless. I walked back to the young man and told him of the website, and that I was unsure of his present situation, but that I also know what it’s like to be alone and down and out. In fact, I was once myself “homeless” living in a motel in Reno trying to pursue my destiny. Again, he seemed shocked.
At this point, he couldn’t look me in the eye. Emotions surfaced, as he tried to surpress them, and all he could do was thank me. He asked what this guy Eric Thomas does. I told him that he was a speaker and life coach who has overcome struggle, and has personally helped me see my life more clearly. He assured me he would “check it out”. I walked away feeling sadenned, and wanting more time with him. However, I knew it wasn’t the time or place. I can’t save the world, but I can only plant a seed.
As I drove off, I watched the young man’s gaze follow me all the way down the block. I didn’t even get his name, but somehow I know I have to have had an impact. And guess what? Even though I was running late for my set up, not one single person showed up on time today. Nope! Not even the director Andy Bass, named 1 of 100 Most Influential People in Reno! He always helps me set up for my class. This tells me that this was no “coincidence.”
Maybe taking a few extra minutes even though I was running late could be strong enough to save his life. You just never know where God will place you, and I believe it’s our duty to act when he feel our heart strings being tugged on.
Now, I`m not using this story to boast or to say that you should give to every needy person you encounter because that is impossible. What I am saying it that is so important for us to recognize life outside of ourselves, and help others in need. The more you give the more you get! But, do not give expecting anything in return.
Today my heart was truly touched as a young man was willing to listen to me, allow me to help nourish him (even temporarily), and even in the hardest of situations that he seemed to be encountering, he trusted me enough or was desperate enough to reveal some emotions to me. For anyone who knows anyone down and out or on the street, this is a difficult barrier to break more often then not.
Imagine if our community of people all helped plant a seed one life at a time. Could you imagine the turn around in the poverty and the depressing nature of someone struggling? I can see it…
My life today was put in perspective by a young man who doesn’t even know my name. I think he helped me more then I helped him. I helped him on his path, and he helped me on mine…
|When our path is lit, we can gain confidence
in the journey of our destination knowing that
our path leads to somewhere beautiful.
Is your life in perspective?