Signs of Hope

yoinkie (@yoinkie) 9 years, 5 months ago

On my drunken walk home from the bars last night, I happened to stumble across a homeless man, who now holds the honor of “the most interesting man in the world” in my heart. Mike(his name) asked me for some change, and I told him to tell me his story before I gave him any money(I make a habit of asking people their stories before I give them money, because I feel conversation is far more important then any dollar could ever be). He said of course, and added, “You know, if I dont speak to people, I sometimes go weeks without anyone even looking at me. When did people forget the power of a smile?” Truth. Whenever I walk, I always look people in the eyes as I pass them. I dont understand why people look at the floor or their phone when passing a stranger on the street, people are far more interesting to look at then phones, or grounds. Not often do people’s eyes meet mine, its funny how hard people actually try to ignore eye contact.

Mike was in his mid 50’s, and it was easy to tell that life had shit kicked him quite a few times. He proceeded to tell me how he use to live in the suburbs of Seattle up until he was about 30. He had a lovely home, a lovely wife, and 2 lovely kids. He worked at the docks of seattle as a longshoreman. It was around 30 that his mind started to slip from him, and paranoia became a controlling factor in his life. He could no longer be in small rooms for too long, the walls felt like they were swallowing him alive. Mike said his bitch of a wife(he didnt call her a bitch, because he was far too nice, but i’ll call her a bitch because thats what she is) left him in less then 3 months into his condition, saying that he was no longer the fun and caring man she fell in love with. All lies of course, but so many can not handle “burdens”, even if they are small burdens caused by loved ones. She won the kids, claiming that he was unfit to care for anyone but himself(side story; mike found out that both of his kids left her before they were 18 because they couldnt handle the burden of living with a bitch), took more then half his money, and the house. The people at his job loved Mike, but they soon to left him in the dust because his safety was a risk with the panic attacks he would have.

Mike told me he took it all in stride, and it gave him a chance to travel which he always wanted to do. I asked him how he could control his anger at the world, and he said to me, “I could have been angry, very easily. Holding anger is like holding a fire; you will never really catch it, there is no point to it, and in the end you are the only one that gets burned. If anger could somehow help me get to happiness, I would take her hand in a minute. But it never really does.” I have a hard time with anger and stress, and those words of his, I needed to hear very badly.

Mike said he traveled all over the US, then went to South America and traveled all around their, with minimal money and doing odd jobs for anyone that would take him. He said it took him almost 3 months to actually get to South America after he had decided to go there. I asked him how he dealt with the slowness of his movements, and how he approached patience. He said, ” You ever think about eating a burger, a really tasty burger? You drive over to it, thinking about it all the way, almost tasting it in your mouth before even eating it.. then when you finally do have it, you eat it in under a minute, enjoy the shit out of it, then move on with your life. Now think of how wonderful it is, for a man like me, to have that burger sitting at the top of a very tall mountain, and me having no climbing gear. I wake up, and think about that burger, I go to sleep and dream about that burger. That burger, drives me. I know one day I will eat that burger, and that burger, will be the most wonderful meal in my entire life.”

He continued to tell me how he lived in the woods out in the middle of nowhere for a while, some of the happiest times of his life. But said he had to leave, because he once fell into a steep ravine and broke his leg, and literally had to crawl for days to get to civilization. Being a man who never relied on anything in his life, he said the feeling of helplessness really affected his mind in the worst way. He told me that he would probably return to the woods sooner or later, but enjoyed the show of humans too much at the moment.

We continued to talk about all sorts of things, and this man approached everything with a calm heart, and a love so pure that my heart was crying tears of joy knowing that people like that exist in our world. Near the end of our talk, I told him that I wanted to buy him a hotel room for the night, to which he said no. I insisted that it would be my honor to offer a gesture of kindness to him, and again he said no, adding, “Why would I need to stay in a hotel room when the world has already given me room? The greatest thing about the earth is how happily she gives, and never asks for anything in return.” I kept insisting that I would like to do something for him, buy him food or supplies, or sometthing. He kept telling me that if his life needed something, it would find its way to him sooner or later. After some more insisting, he finally caved in and said, “Instead of buying me a hotel room or supplies or anything…you know, I use to play carnival games with my kids all the time. It was our favorite thing to do. I havent played any sorts of those games in more then a decade.” Mike and I walked a few blocks away to the gameworks, and played games and enjoyed each others company until the place closed and told us to leave.

Not once did this man stop smiling the entire time I knew him, and even laughed at my jokes that I knew werent that funny. Dont judge people, you never know the misfortunes that bring them to today.

August 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm
Anonymous (291) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

This made me cry.
Thank you for sharing Mike’s love with us. <3

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Anonymous (2,654) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

Wow, @yoinkie. That was amazing. Definitely an experience you’ll remember and a story I won’t forget too. I can’t help but thinking about that bitch though. By the story of his kindness I almost forget the turning point of events. What a fucking bitch, man! She didn’t tried to help him and make things work. Was that story real? It is in the Creative Corner after all.

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Anonymous (512) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@yoinkie, Thank you for sharing Mike’s story, Yoinkie. An additional thanks, too, for the bits of wisdom you chose to scatter throughout the prose.

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yoinkie (1,498)C (@yoinkie) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@beyond, This happened last night. I usually put all my stuff in the creative corner forum. He was like, my new mentor on life. He has so much wisdom in his years, you could tell that he thought very deeply about everything. He had something to say about everything, it was amazing. He doesnt stay very far from me, I will see him again.

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elise ruth (6) (@eliseruth) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

This is beautiful.. I think there are a lot of signs in the world, no matter how shitty things may get, that there is still love with us

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Anonymous (26) (@) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

The epitome of a real positive mental attitude. Mike is an inspirational and wise man. Thank you for sharing his story.

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KellyM (107) (@kellah) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@yoinkie, what a great story <3 definitly a eye opener :)

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yoinkie (1,498)C (@yoinkie) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@eliseruth, Thats the truth. We just haveto keep tearing down barriers and once we do, we find all these great instances of love.

@deafening, @kellah, @alexa, @optimystic, Thank you for reading! We should all strive to be a little bit more like Mike. I can definetely say I suffer from lack of patience, and dont approach everything with a kind and open heart. You really can approach any instance with calm, and the situation because infinitely less difficult to handle.

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Brandon P’naantan Pinkney (321) (@hlalhabattu) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@yoinkie, you sir, are a beautiful person very few people would do even a fraction of what you did for that man and for that, you deserve a little praise. the “vagrants” are people too, and far more interesting than most and the do truly appreciate a little recognition aside from a handout. so I applaud you for being human man. MAJOR kudos n respect

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Nick (554) (@splashartist) 9 years, 5 months ago ago

@yoinkie, That shows you that no matter how solid your life seems it can always end up totally different the. You expect. What a loving individual, you too my friend. Continue making the world a better place :)

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