Garden Of Blessings
--by wayfarer, posted Apr 20, 2008
Well, all good things must come to an end. So, we packed our bags and left the hotel. The gardens were empty at this time of day so we decided to walk through them on the way to the station. That’s when I saw the old fellow.
Picture a “salty old sea-dog” with deeply lined face and bushy white beard. He was wearing the tattered remains of several coats, which seemed to be lined with black, plastic bin bags. He was walking diagonally up a grassy hill, bent over as though carrying a heavy burden. I thought, perhaps, he walked that way because of a spinal problem. My wife, the practical one, suggested he was more likely searching the grass for coins dropped by sunbathers. I couldn’t just walk by.
When I reached him he had just sat down on a park bench. He looked at me with emotionless, unflinching eyes. “Are you having a good day?” I asked. “Yes!” His voice was almost gone. Perhaps unfairly I thought of vocal chords burned away by cheap whiskey. But there was no doubting the determination behind what voice he had.
I held out some money. “Can I give you this?” He looked away. “No.” “Oh, well, can I buy you breakfast, at least?” “No.” Later my wife suggested he might prefer to make his living by scavenging. Perhaps his pride wouldn’t let him be a beggar. And that was almost the whole story.
I squeezed his shoulder, wished him good luck and walked away, dropping the money where I hoped he might see it. “Do you know what hit me the strongest about all of that?” I asked my wife on the train a few hours later. “What?” “Not his pride – or stubbornness – not his ingenuity in searching for the coins that were bound to be dropped in the park, but how certain he was that he was having a good day. When I think about how many of my worst days would still be better than his good day …”
I came away from the encounter a few pounds poorer, but I found I was infinitely richer when I did a quick re-count of my blessings.
Never ever cry about not having the best of shoes or the newest fad or most expensive shoes cause you never know who out there would love to have the feet to even put shoes on.
What a wonderful story. There are so many souls "out there" that ARE begging and tugging at your heart strings shamelessly, it's gut to see a fellow who staunchly refuses a handout. Unless he finds it himself. I guess he sees honor in that act. I do, too.
That was very touching!
I must admire your ability and also that of your wife to see beyond the obvious!
You read him so correctly, he was having a good day!
Hats off to that man who could have such a great positive outlook that under such unfavourable circumstances he had the ability to 'enjoy' the day!!
Your ending line is profound!
Thanks a lot for sharing this story and reminding that we all should keep counting our blessings once in a while.
Love to u and your wife,