I know, I know. I need the wedding blog post. I am just super overwhelmed with the thought of putting the words and images in my head from that day down in a blog post. But we did just get our professional photos sooo it shall be soon. I have had so many good blog post ideas that have come and gone because I was waiting to the wedding first. But I figure I should put things down as they come and I will make time to blog the wedding when I have more than a few hours.
Last week Chris and I stopped at a used book store to purchase a new sappy love story for me. Then we picked up a cheap bottle of wine and some disposable cups and headed to Kailua Beach Park. The beach park is usually more crowded than the beach right by our house. But it has a restroom and since I wasn’t planning on swimming I needed to plan accordingly.
We plant our beach chairs under a beautiful shaded area. The sun was slowly setting behind us and the wind would roar in short bursts every few minutes. I almost complained in my head every time I got goosebumps on my legs. I opened the wine and poured the Riesling into our cups and settled in. Chris was reading something political or some presidential book. I had the only Nicholas Sparks book I hadn’t read. I got maybe 3 pages in and then I saw him.
A man in head to toe camo with a brown paper bag was standing under a tree about 30 ft to my left. My heart sank. From what I know about drugs (and Lord knows I don’t know much) he was on meth or potentially completely burnt out from it. Hawaii has a really bad meth problem that is heartbreaking. I noticed the amount of disgusted looks this man got. I just don’t get that. I could never, ever judge someone for a terrible situation they are in. Even self-induced ones. Clearly he didn’t wake up one morning with the intention of one day standing alone on a beach sipping on a mysterious liquor from a bag and talking to himself and rapidly nodding his head at his own words.
I started wondering what his story was. Maybe he was abused as a child never feeling unconditional love. Maybe he came from a loving home and got caught up in pressure from new friends once he hit high school. Maybe he was born into a family that didn’t care about him at all and he went from one drug to another searching for an outlet. Maybe it was just the lifestyle that surrounded him. Maybe he lost his wife to cancer and had tried everything to numb the pain. Maybe he lost his job when the economy tanked and his took to drugs at first for money then got addicted himself. I don’t know. Every terrible scenario ran through my head. Every story that ends like this is sad. Not disgusting or appalling. I wonder if he had anyone that loved him and where they are now. Did they have to walk away once it got too bad? Are they wondering where he is now after several years? Part of me wanted to love him. Like in a saving way. To let him know his life is precious and life sucks sometimes.
I had the hardest time though watching people’s reaction to him. I understand that drugs can cause people to be unpredictable and violent sometimes. So shying away or being protective of you family is understandable. I just couldn’t stomach the dirty looks thrown his way. I am not sure why I am sharing this with everyone. I know that I am a very sensitive person when it comes to other people. Especially others that haven’t been as fortunate as I have. If I could “hug the world” believe me, I would. This has just been laying on my heart for a week now. I guess what I want to ask of you all is to think about a person’s situation before even giving a dirty look. Someday you may end up in a bad situation and just a smile of understanding from a stranger could save your day.
I have thought about that man every night since we saw him. I wonder where he is sleeping tonight, what he ate today, if someone will find him and take him to get help. I pray that whatever landed him in this situation isn’t happening to someone else right now. So here is what I ask of you. Please give the older guy at the checkout lane some slack if he is slow ringing you up. He could have lost his entire retirement he worked years for. Throw some money at the homeless man you pass on the way to work or if you are afraid he will blow it on booze, pick him up a Big Mac when you are ordering at McDonald’s. He could have lost his house and family in a fire. Don’t default to disgust when you pass someone in withdraw or on drugs when you are walking with your kids. Instead, explain to them that this can happen and teach them how to protect themselves against drugs and maybe how to show a little compassion for those who weren’t strong enough to. Who knows, maybe your kids or mine will someday make a difference in the fight against drugs because they felt that tug on their heart.
God gave us the ability to love and a heart capable of compassion. Might as well use it. Love and miss you all!