So this afternoon as I was jogging thru the West Los Angeles VA center, I stopped off at my favorite spot, a grass covered park area with a ring of amazing trees right in the center. The energy feels so powerful, sacred and healing that it just stills me. As I stood there in silence, the sun caught my eyes and I realized that with my sunglasses on and by peering through a tiny space between two fingers, I could safely gaze at the sun through the trees. If you have not done this before, it is quite energizing, and you can actually see little strands of rainbow light coming off the sun.
After about 10 mins., I turned up my music on my mp3 player and continued on my jog only to run into 2 homeless men in their 50s standing on the street corner along Wilshire Blvd. holding up little cardboard signs with the usual, “need food, money, job” written on it in black marker. They would each take turns walking up and down the row of cars that were stopped at the red light.
For some reason, instead of just jogging by without speaking to them, I found myself ripping off my headphones and saying “Hi!” with a warm smile to one of them. The one I spoke to was named Renee, a tan man with a fit build and grey hair and beard, wearing white shorts and a tank top. I asked him how much he usually gets per “donation”, and he said usually a hand full of change or a buck. Next, I asked him if he was a Veteran? And he said, no, that he used to be COO for a company. I asked him if he didn’t mind telling me what he used to earn. And my jaw hit the ground when he casually said, “My best year I made $300,000. But it all went to pay for the kids college, cars, house payments, etc. And all I did was work all the time… 18 hours a day.”
Can you imagine?… here was a father of 5 who once earned 300K a year and he was now homeless, on a street corner with a sleeping bag and suitcase, begging for change so he could eat. I stood there stunned for a minute just taking the whole scene in. We chatted for about 20 more mins. and then he said he had to “get back to work.” We shook hands and he picked up his cardboard sign and began walking along the row of cars that had just pulled up to the red light.
I waved good-bye and continued on my jog… so grateful that Life had me stop and talk to this man. Next time you see a homeless person, if you have a moment, spend a few minutes chatting with them… you may find that what they have to teach you, money can’t buy.