The Mind’s Eye

mind’s eye   (mīndz)
n.   The ability to imagine or remember images or scenes.


It’s been a number of years now, and I suppose I shall always remember it.  I was driving around downtown one afternoon late in the winter making a few deliveries.  I was listening to a band, rocking out, cruising around, and minding my own business…


I came up to a red light and stopped… waited.  As I looked over to my left, I glanced at a younger guy, about my age, standing there.  He was a little scruffy, pale in the face, and holding a cardboard sign with some writing on it.  Generally, I had always just glanced over these signs as I pass them, see if there is anything interesting written on them, and move on…


As with most major cities I’m sure, when you’re in the heart of downtown, it’s pretty common to have homeless people on every other corner, holding a cardboard sign with something standard written on them, all in all, asking for money.  I suppose after so many years, one can easily get desensitized to this sort of thing.  In general, you see the person, read the sign if it’s short enough, and make a .00005 of a second decision that you don’t want to go through the trouble of giving them money, or, you’ve given money before to a homeless person, or, they don’t look like they’re in dire need of money, or some other random split second decision thought.  There are hundreds of thoughts and excuses out there… and we’ve all come up with them before.


So, as in this case, along with the rest of them before, I looked at this gentleman, glazed over the sign, but this time, I stopped.  My mind went blank from all the hustle of the day, and work, and how I had to hurry, and where I had to go next, and what I was doing that night, and how much money I needed to come up with and so on…  The world stopped for a brief moment.  The song playing was a melodic rock, sung from the heart, powerful song that just added to the moment.
I can’t remember exactly, but the sign basically read,


“Need money/food, have stomach cancer, homeless, anything helps, God bless.”


I don’t know why, but for some reason this particular sign struck me.  The light had just turned green, and there was a line of lunch rush hour traffic behind me.  I went back and forth in my head a hundred times the next .0004 seconds if I should do something.  “Should I help? I can’t! Should I ask him if I can buy him lunch? Talk to him? Smile? Drive on? This isn’t my problem. But, it’s bugging me, so I’d better do something.  I want to do something…” and so on.  Should I do something?




The light turned green, traffic moved forward, and I went with it.  About a block or two away, my heart had simply sunk for this guy.  I was just lost for words, and felt so bad for him.  I knew I probably couldn’t help him really, but I had to see if nothing else, maybe I could buy him lunch.  So, I turned around to go back and ask him if I could buy him lunch, talk to him and hear his story.


Downtown lunch rush hour, on top of one way street after one way street, took me about five minutes to get looped around and back on the same street to be able to talk to him.  Five minutes is all it takes.  He was gone.


My heart sunk.  I felt so bad that I didn’t act the moment I thought it, sitting at the red light the first time.  “Where did he go so fast?” I wondered.  He was just gone.  I missed it.  So, there was nothing left to do except drive on, and start the song over that had just finished playing the whole time I saw and felt these things.  The chorus… the chorus was what was playing when I pulled up the first time.  The chorus was playing when I drove off.


It’s been a long time since I’d thought about this.  The song popped in my head the other day out of the blue, in the mind’s eye.  It jarred a memory, a thought, a feeling.  I hope he turned out okay.  I hope someone else stopped and invited him to lunch at least.  I hope someone stopped, and took a moment out of their busy day to talk with someone who may never have seen 30.  But also, I’m reminded of something I once read: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”  I’ll never know.  You may never know.  But, I urge you this… If you get a special nudge from inside you, seriously consider acting on it.  Don’t miss out.  For yourself.  For the other person.



Above, is the song.
Below are the lyrics to the chorus of the song that was playing that I was
talking about.  If you want to just hear the chorus, fast forward the song
above to 2:20
Live – “Pillar Of Davidson”
Old bad eyes
old bad eyes
old bad eyes, almighty fear
the shepherd won’t leave me alone
he’s in my face and I
the shepherd of my days
and I want you here by my heart and my head
I can’t start till I’m dead



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