Today has been interesting, to say the least. I headed out to church in Tribeca this morning, and this doesn’t happen often, but there was actually a seat on the train, I made my connection just in time, and there was a seat on the 2nd train, too. (I’m not even kidding: this is what I’ve come to think of as “favour” lately, lol.)
As a result of a stress-free commute, absolutely gorgeous weather, and some spare time to stop for chai, I must have looked happy and approachable, because a stranger stopped me to ask for directions. This isn’t unusual around Brooklyn Bridge – there are a lot of tourists about, and if you look like you know where you’re going, it’s likely you’ll be stopped – but this conversation took the cake. The fact that I couldn’t help him didn’t deter him – he went on to tell me that I was beautiful, and then wanted to know my name, and if I was single. I smiled and kept walking, but he kept talking. He told me his name, and said that he was single, and wondered if I happened to be available. I laughed, and told him no.
A very small part of me regrets it – I mean, I kind of want to know his story, and what on earth inspires that kind of a blatant pick-up on a Sunday morning – but it wouldn’t have been smart. I’m grateful that he was harmless, and that he didn’t follow me when I cut across the park to get my tea. It makes for a good story. And hey, some random Eastern European guy thinks I’m pretty. So that’s nice.
But it was a weird way to start the day.
I got stopped again on my way home, this time by an older gentleman who claimed to be a war veteran; he said the veteran’s office was closed today, and he just wanted me to buy him a week’s pass to the subway – he wasn’t asking for money, just a subway pass, and please could I help him, because no one else would.
He might have been telling the truth – I don’t know. But it was a lovely day today, and he was hanging around outside a subway in a wealthier neighborhood – maybe I’m jaded, but it seemed a little odd. How did he even get here? And there’s another guy who rides the subway in his wheelchair, who has a different version of a similar story every other week – sometimes he can’t get a job, and sometimes he’s got an interview next week or tomorrow, so he just needs enough money to get a hotel room and a shower. (I’ve also seen him pitch an entirely different storyline on a different subway line in Manhattan, and no matter what the scenario is, somehow he’s always exactly $11.00 short.) Then there’s the lady outside the convenience store up the street who asks me for money every time I walk past, and tomorrow, I will likely see the guy who sits on the floor in the hallway of the Atlantic-Barclay’s station, who is reportedly just trying to get enough money for a meal, and either cheated the system by hopping the gate or paid $3.00 like the rest of us to get into the building.
It breaks my heart every single day, walking past these people as if I don’t see them – because I do. But it’s often impossible to tell who is really in need and who is running a scam, and panhandling is illegal. This is an aspect of living in Brooklyn that I will never get used to. I really hope that if there is ever a day when I can actually help with a legitimate need – in a way that matters – that I’ll be in tune enough with the Spirit in me to not miss it. I’ll never forget the day I walked past a homeless woman on a street in Manhattan, who was trying to give away food that well-meaning strangers had given her. “Does anyone want a sandwich? Please, I don’t need any more food – I need prayer, and a job.” I really hope she found a job; she still has my prayers.
Sometimes prayer can feel really ineffective in the face of such real and complicated problems, but this morning I listened to someone with a voice on the world stage pray passionately for some very specific needs, and the passion in her voice as she begged God to come in a hurry, to answer our heart’s cries, and to turn our prayers of rage about injustice into positive action, there wasn’t a question in my mind about whether or not God would hear and say yes. We prayed with her, and He heard us, and something changed today. We may not see it for a really long time to come, but we poured out our hearts to the God who hears, and I believe He did. I really do.
More to come,
Simple Felicity is, at its heart, a blog based on the unshakeable belief that happiness really isn't all that complicated. Sometimes finding it can be - but happiness itself is pretty simple, and it's often found in the simplest of things: good food, good books, and good company. So those are the things I write about, along with a few other things that really matter to me, including faith and feminism.
A bit about me: My name is Happy. I have an amazing talent for misplacing my keys, a deep appreciation for whomever looked at the coffee bean and thought, "Hey, I wonder what would happen if I roasted this?", and road trips to Michigan are pretty much my favorite.
Contact me anytime at simplefelicity7 (at) gmail (dot) com! I'd love to hear from you.
"Never say you know the final word about any human heart." -Henry James #preach
well... yes. yes, he is. twitter.com/TVietor08/stat…
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