Saturday 11/25, 9:53 a.m., Salt Lake City.
It’s hard to know what to do with the grief of this world. I look at this man and his dog and feel the pressure of disappointment on both his heart and my own; I can feel the loss of the dream he had for his own life and experience that loss with him. For I don’t move about my world so as to push it away from me; I welcome it to settle within me and become part of my experience; I let it teach me and humble me so that I can grow more each day in understanding and perhaps one day maybe we humans can be a collective, empathic, love-filled whole again.But man, it’s hard. It’s hard to see these things. It’s hard to know how to deal with this powerful grief walking in front of my car on a warm Saturday morning.
So, oftentimes, I guess we don’t. And instead we make up a story, about who he is, and why he got here, and what there was that he should have done but chose not to that would have avoided the end of pushing his belongings through the streets of Salt Lake City.
About 15 minutes before snapping this, I was sitting with a Siamese kitten draped across my lap on a marble floor, staring at a Wolf dual-stack, adjacent to a sink with Signature Hardware faucet (that had been cleaned the day before by the housekeeper to the point that I didn’t dare turn on the water and get water spots on this lovely sink), and I looked down at my shoes, my ratty Tom’s tennis shoes, that have holes in the toes and heels, and are permanently discolored from dirt; shoes that I could easily replace but choose not to—shoes that invite people to make up a story about me—and thought “why do I wear these? Why can’t I just make myself go out and buy new shoes? Why is it a point of pride to wear these filthy shoes in a world which will tell itself the story of how I am lesser because of it?”
And after seeing this guy I knew why.
Because I am not better than him and my ratty shoes keep me living within a humility that says so. For we are the same, he and I; and now we are connected, for the story of this man is now part of me, that how of all the things he could bring with him, to carry and protect on the theft-prone streets of Salt Lake City he chose thick blankets and his dog.