I Hugged a Homeless Man.
It was an interesting event…
I was sitting on a park bench.
Head bent down, scribbling thoughts in my notebook.
Thoughts about moments,
The experience of a moment.
All those moments, like grains of sand.
My attention was pulled away by a voice from a few feet away.
He was walking towards me. I couldn’t, as of yet, make out his words.
He approached, and his voice was carrying a tune.
He was singing.
I asked him what he had said.
“I was just singing,” he replied.
“I heard the music and it was just too good not to.”
He began to sing again in his soft way.
“You are my saviour,
You are my redemption.”
“That sounds really good,” I told him.
“You think so? Thanks.”
He took the seat next to me.
“You know what the secret is?” he asked.
“You’ve gotta sing from the heart,” he answered.
“If it doesn’t come from the heart, then there’s no point.”
“You got a light?” He asked.
I handed him my lighter.
“You can’t make a song just because you think other people will like it.”
“If it doesn’t have heart then you don’t have anything.”
He was having difficulties lighting his cigarette.
His unsteady hands were unable to stay in one place long enough.
“Let me help you,” I offered.
I held the lighter as he lit his smoke.
“You can’t just do it for money.”
“Yeah I know, you gotta eat, and you gotta put a roof over your head and all that.”
“But you still gotta have heart, cause without heart you got nothing.”
“You are my heart,
You are my redemption.”
His singing was so soft, but it had such force.
Not force in the way of air escaping the lungs.
It was the force of a soul,
The force from the heart.
What an interesting moment this was.
This total stranger was sitting here telling me the secret to success.
A homeless man, not the usual place to find tips for success.
But isn’t that just the way of it.
Life will give these things to you, you just have to be willing to accept them.
If I had walked away from this man, turned up my nose because he was “dirty” or “a drunk” or whatever other stereotype I choose to put on him, I would not have experienced this moment. This beautiful moment.
And it comes back to the lessons I was taught before,
Being open to the world. Being open to our fellow humans. Being open to the divine spirit.
Not living in fear.
Not rejecting these moments.
The Experience of a Moment.
All these moments like grains of sand.
A week prior I had been standing only a few feet away from where I now sat, talking with a friend.
Talking about Aqualung by Jethro Tull.
How interesting it was to be here, now talking to Aqualung himself.
We look at people, and make assumptions.
Sometimes we assume that a person has nothing to offer us. Like the homeless man.
But what do we know?
Who’s to say that one person has the answer, and another has nothing to offer us.
We all hold a piece to the puzzle.
We just have to find out what piece each of us holds.
By talking about it.
By sharing our thoughts, our insights, our ideas and feelings.
Sharing that thing that’s in each of us.
That divine fire.
We finished talking.
Until now all he had asked me for was fire. A little spark.
“Could you help me out?” he asked, “I’m homeless and could use a little change.”
I gave him a cigarette and what change I had.
I stretched out my hand and took his in a shake.
Then I said fuck it and gave him a hug.
As I embraced him I thought about the last time he had been hugged.
I mean when living on the street most people view you as some sort disease carrier. Like you’re a burden.
I doubt he got many hugs.
He didn’t seem that dirty to me, sure he had a bit of snot just below his nose, and he was missing a few teeth, but I don’t feel like I “caught” anything from him. Or maybe I did, I caught inspiration.
I wished him well and returned to the indoors.
He continued on his journey.
I walked into the bar, saw all the amazing people I was here with.
I couldn’t help but smile as I looked at them.
How fortunate I am to have these people in my life.
How blessed I truly am.
It was open mic night at our bar (it truly was “our” bar).
The music that Aqualung had been singing to was played on this stage.
Interesting to think about.
Had the person playing known they had reached beyond these walls to a man on the street?
Did they know that their music had touched him?
An interesting thought.
We can never truly know the impact our words, our actions, or our songs will have.
Who they are reaching, who they are affecting.
My name was called over the microphone.
“We’re up,” I said to my friend.
I grabbed my guitar and headed to the stage.
“If it doesn’t come from the heart then there’s no point.”
His words were still echoing in my head.
From the heart it is.
I played the first thing that came to my head.
It may have been the best song in the world.
It may not have.
But it came from the heart.
And in the end, that’s all that matters.
Later that night…
It’s nearly closing time, last call has come and gone.
I am talking with another friend, a half picture of beer sits between us.
“Mind if I have a glass?” he asks.
“Of course not,” I reply.
He pours himself a half-glass.
“You welcome to have more,” I say.
“Thanks but I’m alright,” he replies, “You see I have this theory. I like talking to people. Meeting new people. If I have a half glass, people will share their drink with me, I mean, if they like my company and what I’m saying. With a full glass nobody does that. People will share with you if they see that you can use it.”
That statement brought me back to Aqualung.
He gave me something.
So I gave in return.
That’s how it’s supposed to work.
I mean the whole thing.
Life, the financial system, human interaction.
We trade, and it’s not always solely for material things.
Kind words can be a gift.
With words, or a hug, or a few dollars. Whatever you have at the time.
Sometimes we have money (I once did), and sometimes we don’t (I now don’t).
But we give what we do have.
I’ve got love.
So here you go.
I’ve got more.
I saved this little bit for you.
Pass it on.
Share what you have, and in time you will receive what it is that you need.
That’s how it works.
Give from the heart.
Because without heart, there is no point.
and may you always give from the heart,
because that’s the point.
Book of Face: Ch. 8, Verses 26-34