Looking through a different window
Special to The Union
The other day I was exiting one of our county buildings randomly behind two other gentlemen when a woman who appeared to be homeless approached us.
Her clothes were worn out, she looked weathered, and was looking for some help. She held some papers in her shaking hands as she walked up the steps.
The two men I was with immediately turned their backs to her as she approached.
”Can you please tell me where to turn these papers in,” she asked.
I helped her as best as I could by directing her to a gentleman inside the building. That’s when one of the men turned to me and said, “That was sure nice of you to help her.”
I said I really didn’t think anything of it. He acted like it was a big deal to reach out to connect with this woman. I’d like to think that one day he’ll remember this gesture and respond in kind down the road to someone else in need and not be afraid.
Then I wondered how many times in my life I’ve done the same thing, ignoring someone because of my own insecurities.
What am I or what was I afraid of then? How many times in a given day do we let our social conditioning stop us from connecting or being real with another human being? What do we fear?
Part of my recent personal journey has been to try and stop attaching behaviors to thoughts that are not true. The result is being more present in my daily life.
A dear friend of mine suggested that whenever I am struggling with clarity or acting a certain way in a given situation, I should “try looking through a different window.”
Oftentimes, we tend to have preconceived ideas about a particular person or situation that may not be real. Reality is often much easier to handle than the fear we place on the untold scenarios circulating in our minds.
Perhaps the window we are looking through is cracked, clouded or blocked by something or someone.
Perhaps the window is simply blocked by our own thoughts.
I have to share a lovely story that took place a couple of weeks ago at the market.
A woman parked her cart along with her two dogs in front of the market.
She came in and browsed awhile and got a small soup and meager salad to eat. She was very sweet and loved the market, although I could tell she felt a little intimidated.
We all smiled at her to ensure her she was welcome here, and she soon started to inquire about a few items in the store, and I explained then.
When she came through the line, her total was less than $5, but it seemed to pain her to pay even that.
She paid and sat down in the café to enjoy the food.
While in line, the woman behind her was watching her, and at first, I thought she was offended by this woman who, by her clothes and demeanor, was obviously homeless.
However, after the woman left to sit down, this wonderful lady asked Angelica (who was cashiering at the time) if it was OK for her to buy a gift card for the homeless woman.
Angelica and I were surprised by her generosity and even more so when she asked if it could go up to $100.
After ringing her out, the woman asked if either of us could deliver it to the woman in the café after her secret benefactor had left.
The selflessness that I observed was truly moving. After she left, I approached the woman who was still eating her soup and told her that someone really wanted to see her have a good day and hoped this would help.
I handed her the gift card, and she was shocked, looked around and asked “Who?”
I told her the person had left and didn’t want to be known.
She had tears in her eyes and said, ‘Oh, thank you, Thank you’ (this was all before she knew how much).
A few minutes later she came up to the register and asked the amount.
When she heard $100, she was floored. She shopped around the store and got essential items like soap, toilet paper, bread, cheese and dog food.
Things that anyone else would take for granted, she was enthralled to be able to afford.
She left a very uplifted person all because of a very sweet woman in line.
Kevin Cotter is managing partner for New Earth Market in Yuba City, http://www.newearthmarket.com/.
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