Every single day we walk past them. The shadow people. The people we don’t see because we don’t want to see. They are the great unseen. The great unclean. No meaning in a world moving at 1,000 mph. To slow to keep up. They fell off the train and never got back on. Because we are moving too fast to stop and pick them up. And we just couldn’t be bothered either.
Like characters from a George A. Romero movie. Zombies. Dead on their feet. But not like a George A. Romero movie. Because we still go and watch his zombies. We don’t watch these shadow people anymore. We make a point of looking past them. Over them. Through them. Those beggars hanging out at the edges of our vision. Just far enough for us to ignore. But just close enough to be in our way.
Those beggars in our way. Not just in the way of our commute to work or stroll through town. No. In the way of how we want to see life and live life. We try everything to ignore them. We wear our sunglasses. We look across the street as if we are looking for something. We dig into our pockets as if trying to find something. We walk with the best pensive look we can come up with. We make as if we are talking on our mobile phones. Anything. Anything to make them disappear. Or not look at us.
We want them to be invisible. We want to be invincible. They remind us of how close we are to being nothing. Just one unlucky break away from falling of our speeding train. We try hard to make them go away. To make them invisible. Like glass. But they are not glass. They are a mirror. Holding it up for us to see. To see where we could be as individuals. And to show us where we are as a community.
We will do anything to not help them out. Because it is “bad” for them. It doesn’t “help” them get out of their “situation”. So say the experts. Thanks Laura from A smoother pebble for reminding me that maybe we walk past these shadows a little too fast. That maybe we don’t stop often enough to just look them in the eyes and remind them and us we are not so different from each other. That kindness does not always have to have strings attached. That people are just people. No matter what they look like or what they smell like.
Maybe I should stop and give them a dollar. Or maybe I should stop and give them a coffee or sandwich. Maybe I should stop and ask them how they are. Just look them in the eyes and let them know it is okay. That I care more than a dollar. More than money. I care about them. And their lives. A care the same way I care about others. No more, but no less. And maybe I will shake their hands and wave goodbye, have a nice day – and mean it. Remind them and remind me that they are not invisible. They are not shadows. They are invincible. Like me. And they are imperfect and weak. Like me.
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