The following was written by me in August of 2016 and posted to Facebook.
It is truly a rare occasion when I am allowed by the Universe to witness something so awesome and pure. So awesome that it nearly succeeded into bringing me to tears in the middle of an account this morning. I use that as a qualifying statement, because those that know me are well aware just how little emotion escapes my person.
When I saw this, I was taken by surprise. First, for the obvious reasons, and then for the awe inspiring moment that it was. Had I been more conscious of what I was seeing, I might have been bold enough to ask for a picture. In hindsight, however, a picture would never fully translate the raw emotion emitted by this individual.
Now, to get to the point. Let me start from the very beginning, and I will be as transparent and honest as possible. With that being said, this is your warning for potential length of post and language.
I began to pull into my first stop. I entered the parking lot from the highway, and my immediate thought, outside of the usual watching for cars and pedestrians, was upon a man and a young boy. This boy was, maybe, a couple of years older than my daughter; who is three years old. He appeared to be still in his pajamas, but I couldn’t quite tell.
The man with him looked tired. That was the only thing I noticed about him.
The boy, somewhere in between tired, anxious, and happy. He was special. Functioning. But clearly special.
I allowed them to pass in front of my truck, and then I proceeded to park. I didn’t think twice about them at this point. I had a job to do, and my head was killing me. Fast forward.
I’m now in the middle of my delivery. I push some product down the isle of this store, and sitting in a booth is this man and child. It struck a chord with me for some odd reason as I looked upon him eating his breakfast. It was a biscuit with sausage. He held it, cupped in his hand. The word that popped into my head at the time was ‘primal’. I felt sorry for the boy. I couldn’t imagine that as my life. From either side. Fast forward.
I finish my delivery, and I begin to exit the building. I do not know why, but I looked over at the booth hoping to see the boy and man again. They were there.
What I did not expect to see was that the boy was no longer seated across from the man. He was now in the man’s lap. Their chests were together, and the boy’s head was on the man’s shoulder. This was not a hug. I’m now going to describe this as a Life Grip; the exact opposite of a death grip.
The expression on the boy’s face was somewhat blank. Again, it was odd to me. Then he and I made eye contact. And the phrase of the eyes being the window to the soul were never more true than in this moment. That boy was holding on to his world. In that little booth, the tired and worn man held him, and this child taught me more about love than I have ever known. I felt it. And then it seemed as if he felt sorry for me. Moving on.
He had nothing beyond that booth. Everything he wanted and needed was right there in his arms.
I stopped. The only thought that I could possibly muster was, ‘Well fuck me, I’ve been doing everything wrong.” And I do not know the reason behind that being my thought. It’s been plaguing me all day. Gnawing at me so much that I simply can not stop seeing that picture in my mind of that boy, holding that man who was holding him, and the simplest and purest love that anyone could ever hope for.
I hurried out to my truck. I was hoping to collect my thoughts. I loaded my equipment, got ready to move down the road, and realized that I had forgotten to collect for the delivery.
So, I went back in. Collected.
As I began to leave, I could not stop myself. I looked again. The same scene played out before me in slow motion. I gathered one more thought from the boy’s eyes that I did not expect. He didn’t want to be let go. Had he been given the choice, he would have stayed right there for eternity.
I do not think this man will ever know just how much he means to the boy, but I can promise that I will never forget.
I can’t say whether or not these words truly express the moment and emotions. It’s unlikely that they do. However, maybe they do well enough that it helps any and all of you reading this. Take a cue from this special child. I use that word now in a completely different context than I had earlier.
There are a lot of fucked up things in this world today. People committing violent acts upon one another, children going hungry, and all around devastation for trivial bullshit.
Now, I know why I’ve been doing things wrong. I’ve been chasing the wrong things. While going after that better job for better pay is great, everything comes at a cost. Do not screw things up like I have. I’ve been so focused on providing for my family that I have neglected them. By pushing to provide with monetary means, I have failed to provide on many other fronts.
I will end with this little bit that I wrote several weeks ago. At the time, I put it aside as an unfinished piece. Now, the words stop abruptly with the emphasis that needs to be there.
Anyway, here it is.
Backtrack from the end to the beginning;
To watch you spend and the world stop spinning.
The joy. The laughter. The pain. The sorrow.
Know that you can’t press pause; then fast forward to tomorrow.
Relive the past, but only in your mind.
See the moments missed.
Was it worth the grind?