These past few months have been a blur. I've had so many projects/tasks/conversations/trips that I've forgotten to be a human being sometimes.
Here's an example: a few days ago I was watching SportsCenter when I looked over to the growing mountain of dishes in my sink. Greasy dishes tetering on each other Instead of washing them I ignored them and went back to watching the Broncos' highlights for the third straight time.
But it kept bugging me. As I walked to get some grub that image of the dishes kept popping up over and over again. That subtle notion that the picture frame was crooked, that there was a disruption in the Force.
So I went along beating myself up over the dishes. Those dishes ruined my afternoon.
On my way back I walked past the old folks' home that is near my place. I've said hi to those youngster many times. They are sweet people who light up as soon as I ask them about something so uneventful like the weather. I can tell they lack this sort of recognition by another. It leaves me to speculate how they got there, and the families they probably don't see that much anymore. Anybody who opens their entire heart to you after a simple "Nice weather today, eh?" is someone who doesn't get a lot of requests to share their thoughts on anything.
(Being near these folks reminds me how hard life can be. Just when you are at your most vulnerable, when you are old and worn, when you need the most help because like a toddler you are trying to stand on your own you are left pushed away from your closest. Life is hard, especially when you feel weak and alone.)
One of the regulars was standing by the door. A gentleman who is always dressed like it's -2, with gloves, scarf, and a very stylish pub cap. Hello, Hello! I was about to offer a comeback when he was already turning around to go back inside, probably because the wind was chilling that day. He doesn't look a year older than 65, but his movements betray that potrait. He doesn't walk, he shuffles. It takes him a while to move a few feet; he never lifts his feet more than an inch off the ground. I forgot that about him.
And then he started to say random things to himself. He was mumbling and asking himself questions that I couldn't understand. His face looked tense, wrinkled, like he was fighting off an intruder. He made it in after having some trouble with the door handle.
It's easy to forget to be a human being sometimes. I am so caught up in my to-dos that I forget how much I have that others don't, I forget to be grateful. Here is a man who has no family nearby, trouble walking, and is in a constant struggle with his own mind. Meanwhile my biggest issue at the moment was those dirty dishes.
The moment you forget what you have is the moment you start to look at what you don't have. You try to find the mistakes, the misses, the lack. And when that happens you become more and more insular, solely thinking about your own woes, forgetting the epic battles everybody else is fighting beside you.
I eventually washed the dishes, and guess what, I felt a little better after wiping them down. But as I did I kept thinking about Mr. Stylish Pub Cap. I kept remembering that shuffle, that look of struggle. He reminded me of how petty life can be when you forget your blessings, and how you lose your humanity when you do.