How often do you reach out to another human?
On Good Friday, I was at Penn Station. A homeless man politely approached me and asked for money. His pitch was eloquent, heartfelt, and with wonderful eye contact. I was marveled by his intelligence.
Liquor seeped from his breath, and a cane supported his frail body, but I couldn’t help but wonder what his story was. If he were a character in my script or novel, what would I learn from him? What would his arc be? But this man wasn’t fiction. He was real, and he indeed needed help.
Instead of handing him a ten dollar bill that would have most certainly been spent on more moonshine, I offered, “Let me buy you lunch.” I wanted to take him into the restaurant so he could choose what most appealed to him, but he explained the homeless weren’t allowed.
As I stood on line waiting for food, I glanced back at him, propped against the wall. People were passing by, as if he didn’t exist. He was invisible. Totally invisible. My heart broke.
With a bag of warm nourishment, I returned and held out his hot lunch. As he reached for it, I looked him in the eyes and said, “I love you.” He was astonished. A tear rolled down his cheek, “I don’t remember the last time someone said that to me.” I simply repeated, “I love you.” A sweet smile rose across his parched lips as he declared, “I love you too.”
I smiled and walked away, never to see him again. But for that one day, that one moment, I hope he felt loved. Those three words were more nourishing to him than any amount of food.
Try spreading love and see what joy comes back to you.