Monday, 13 June 2011
After leaving work after a long, but productive day, I was waiting for my bus home at my local bus stop, when the universe decided to teach me a lesson and remind me of something very important.
Usually, I'm pretty unobservant, except if there is a hot man nearby - and feeling tired and carrying loads of shopping bags, the thought of a comfy bus seat is usually the only thing on my mind at the time, but today I noticed something. A middle aged homeless man was standing a few metres away from me, next to a public refuse bin.
He began to dig through the bin, pulling out bags, food cartons and other goods, creating a small pile on the sidewalk next to him. He then proceeded to go through each item and examine it for any worth or use. It was fascinating to observe. He found some discarded food, which he bagged, and then a half full carton of Coca Cola from McDonald's, which someone had obviously not wanted to finish and thrown in the bin.
What he did next fascinated me. He reached into his bag and pulled out one empty plastic coke bottle and another that was half full. After carefully examining to see if the contents were safe, he proceeded to fill both bottles as much as possible and bagged them back up in his little bag, which probably contained all of his earthly possessions.
I was fascinated by this for a few reasons -
1. He had the foresight and ingenuity to carry around empty plastic bottles to ensure that he could make the most of any 'opportunity' he found.
2. He found something of value to him, in let's be honest is everyone elses crap. Something most of us wouldn't even look at twice.
3. After examining most of the bins contents, finding what he could eat/store or use - he cleaned it all up again and left the side walk looking meticulous. How many non homeless, wealthy, privileges people would have done the same? Littering seems to be pretty common these days.
Here was a man, who clearly had little to nothing, who was doing everything he could to make the most of his existence, at that very second, yet he had the decency to clean up his mess, so as to not leave an unsightly mess for the very people, who probably look down at him on a daily basis, thinking him to be nothing more than a dirty, homeless bum.
That little observation humbled me immensely and spoke to my heart to truly be grateful for everything I have in this life.
My life may be at times shitty, I may feel like the world is against me, or I may be having a 'bad day'.
But in that moment - I was reminded of how lucky, blessed and happy my life really is.
I challenge you to live your life being grateful and knowing what is important.
Life is too short to fuck it up and lose sight of what matters.
Should I have done something for that man - probably. Do I feel guilty for not doing more - Yes.
Am I grateful for what I have