Friday, April 13, 2007

Reaching Out


Unexpected encounters are what make the world so wonderful. In the city where I live, we have many homeless people who ride bikes and go around collecting cans from the waste receptacle to redeem at recycling centers. Unfortunately it has gotten so obnoxious here at the condo where I live that we had to post signs stating it was trespassing as we were getting so many people. It was also because they were tossing garbage out onto the grounds. There is one elderly gentleman though who has been exempted. I had gotten his story from someone who knew a bit about him and his sisters who live close by.

They are political refugees from one of the countries that emerged when the Soviet Union broke up. What his story is exactly they didn't know. When I first moved here you would see him collecting cans. He was always very polite and careful in doing it. In recent months he had gotten what I call the adult tricycle with a basket attached and I would see him from time to time. Many of us have taken to collecting our cans and bottles and watching for him. A little while ago I saw him (I hadn't seen him for about a month and was concerned). As we had two large garbage bags of cans and bottles, I took them over and tapped him on the shoulder. Now he doesn't speak English hardly at all, but we have managed in the past to communicate with sign language. His face broke into a enormous grin and he started saying, "Thank you, thank you." He then reached for my hands and pulled back as if he were afraid that I might object. So I reached back and he took my hand in his raised it too his lips and kissed it then bowed. What a courtier he was. I felt more then blessed and uplifted by the encounter. He is like a bodhisavatta. There is just something about his presence that touches anyone who meets him. I think that is why we have more or less adopted him at the condo. I just hope he knows that he gives more then he ever receives.

To mix it up a bit, Alanis Morissette, "Hand In My Pocket":


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