After spending all day cooped up on my couch with my laptop for company, K and I set out this evening for a leisurely visit to the temple. As we cruised along curving roads and bountiful greenery along the rustic route that took a whole 40 minutes to cover, we sat in companionable silence. An hour later saw us at the local Italian restaurant chain. Alighting from the car, I made my way to the restaurant lobby while K walked towards a guy standing at the intersection of the signal. He had a cardboard sign on him that said “Homeless. Able and willing to work cheap.”
There was something about his downcast eyes and stoic stance that made us both pause. There was a mixture of defiance and defeat in his eyes. He received the money K put in his hands with grace and wished him well. Walking back to our dinner, we went back to more current issues in our life. On our way back we spotted him again. There was something very disturbing about the whole experience. As much as it called attention to the things we must be grateful for in our life, I could not help wondering about what led him to this decision. Is it symbolic of the deep stemming economic downturn? Or is it a one off occurrence caused by a fall in personal fortunes?
Back home as we walked away the calories from our carb rich dinner, thoughts kept coming back to his eyes. Downcast and defiant. I hope somebody with work that needs to be done seeks him out. I hope today is the last time he stands there at that signal with that board in his hands. My prayers and wishes go out for him and countless others like him.