My husband Shane and I were driving this morning, stuck in rush hour waiting to get onto the highway. We looked to our right, up on the sidewalk, and noticed a developmentally disabled man possibly in his late forties -waiting for a bus.
Sporting a fine baseball cap and loosely wrapped in a light jacket – he stood smiling from ear to ear in the crisp morning air. One hand tightly clutched a blue lunch bag while the other waved hello to the drivers in our lane. Shane smiled, waved back, and then gave him a thumbs up.
The light turned green and started moving. We rounded the corner and entered the highway. As we merged into speeding traffic – everyone hurrying to get somewhere, whether a job they hated or were dropping their kids at school or going to grab a cup of coffee – the highway was packed with people starting their day. My eyes welled with tears and I felt the lump starting in my throat. I said ”I bet he and his family had many tough years.” ”Yeah probably,” Shane replied, “it was hard but it was innocent. His parents on one hand didn’t have to deal with hard stuff like getting into a lot of trouble, like many kids do. Stealing… drugs… you know… stuff like that. I bet he grew up enjoying the simple pleasures, and brought his parents a lot of joy and solace at what he’s become. I’m sure it was hard in other ways, but look at him. He’s out on his own just like everyone else – heading to his job or an adult center – with his lunchpail – waving hello and giving a smile to everyone else going to work too. ”
You know… there are little reminders out there every day. To slow it down a bit, appreciate all that is, and to be grateful. Today my reminder came in the form of a man clutching a blue vinyl lunch bag. With one wave and a smile, I am reminded how precious my seconds are, and how very much I appreciate my life. I am also reminded that one smile can very well mean the difference in someones day. And I’m glad he was standing there passing them out.