Love...


I love to write when I am inspired. It is Healing. I share some seemingly altruistic stories, not out of self-aggrandizement or to seek praise, but to process what happened. There are many lessons upon which I need to reflect. My memory also fades with time and I appreciate reading older accounts of my Life which allow me to grow and learn, when details often fade. I know in reading other's people's experiences in Charity or otherwise, inspires me and helps me in countless ways.

This afternoon, I went to get provisions for the family at Costco in Hawai'i Kai. It was good to get out of the apartment that I have been sequestered in for almost a year with limited excursions outside.

After shopping, I wanted to eat something other than oatmeal, hardboiled eggs, and drinking, rather scarfing down, emulsified brussels sprouts, spinach and broccoli blended in my Vitamix. I have gone hardcore on the diet recently. So I decided to treat myself to Raising Cane's chicken before the long drive back home. 

As I sat in my car full of groceries in the parking lot, I began eagerly eating my meal. It was blissful. I looked up at the sky and was so thankful that I could buy food for my 'ohana, my family is safe and secure, and I am simply still Alive. Life is so Beautiful despite the challenges. I spoke quietly to Ke Akua and the Ancestors to give thanks.

However, no sooner had I finished my prayers and started to eat, my eye caught in the distance, a disheveled man making his way across the large parking lot, listlessly dodging cars and treading in my direction. As he got closer, I could see his extremely soiled clothes, scraggly slightly-matted long hair and wispy long beard. He carried a large brown paper bag in his arms, against his chest, which was stained with dark wet splotches. His skin was dark bronze from the unrelenting exposure to the elements.

He barely looked up from staring at the ground in front of him, only to maneuver between moving and parked cars.  He looked local, maybe Chinese-Hawaiian.

I watched him in silence, as his trajectory put him on a direct course with where I was parked. 

My first thought was that he would approach my open window since I was the only existing evidence of a live person in the immediately surrounding area. I ran over the scenario of what I would give him if he did indeed stop at my car.

Being somewhat tired and ravenous myself, I actually thought about rolling up my window and just continuing to eat. I justified it by thinking I can't save the World.

He didn't have a mask on and the thought of someone approaching my open window and coughing or spitting on me or my food flashed in my mind. Or worse yet, someone screaming and cursing in anger and rage through my open window, in the mental instability that often leads to homelessness. 

My untimely death in the ICU a few weeks later also flashed in my mind given my co-morbidity factors. Dead because of chicken strips, french fries and coleslaw. Dead for trying to give someone a few dollars.

I quickly realized that such thoughts were based in Selfishness and Fear. Not borne from Love and Compassion. I was a little disgusted with, and disappointed in, myself.

I watched as he altered his course and ended up passing by about thirty-feet from where I was parked. I could see he looked so despondent and dejected. I then looked at my remaining food. I had only eaten my tiny cup of coleslaw, one chicken strip and a few fries. There were still three strips and a pile of fries left.

The thought raced in my head whether I should call to him and give him the rest of my food. I certainly could survive without it. By the time I had thought about what to do, and thought through the different scenarios, he was much more further away and almost out of sight. 

I decided to finish my food. Giving someone an unfinished plate of food you had already started to eat seemed disingenuous and demeaning. But I thought maybe I was just trying to poorly justify my selfishness in wanting to finish my meal in peace since I was still ravenous for this food treat that lifted me mentally and emotionally, and probably spiritually, but certainly not physically.

I knew that he most likely finds sustenance in the uneaten and partially eaten remains of many stranger's meals in the trashcans around the shopping center and elsewhere as the unseen and forgotten walking dead, or living ghosts, so often do as they forage for survival in the fringes of our Society.

As I sat there finishing my food, I thought about how so many of us climb this Mountain of Life. Reaching points where we find some semblance of Happiness, Achievement. Well-being. Satisfaction. Respite. A Reprieve. Only to find ourselves sliding back down the Mountain. 

Some of us slipping backwards daily hindering our progress to the Summit. Others spiraling so quickly and so far down in an uncontrollable descent. In the worst cases, people slide to the bottom and enter the bottomless pits where darkness and despair bring you to tragic acts of desperation and to the end of your Life. All because you could no longer see the Mountain top. For in your deep despondency you couldn't even see the Mountain itself anymore. 

And I know many of us slide down, and we are able to catch ourselves, and began up the Mountain again. Only to repeat these cycles in Life. I also know that it is our fellow climbers who reach out to us, with a smile, compassion, kindness, a helping hand, encouragement and Love, which help to lift us back up and onto our feet and headed back up the arduous climb.

I know friends and family who slid down the mountain and never returned. And I always ask myself was there something I could have done. Something I should have known. I should have seen. Or was I so focused on my own journey and suffering, that I let another person slide down right past me into the crevasse of oblivion without reaching out my hand for theirs.

So I simply asked Ke Akua, guide me please. If I see him again, I will take it as your sign for me. He had disappeared out of sight and I surely thought he made it all the way to the other side of the center and into the bushes by the water probably with other homeless. As much as I needed to get home, I drove around the parking lot looking for him. Just when I was about to give up, I turned down a small street and saw him sitting by himself at a small lunch table in an isolated part of the center. 

He was just sitting there, with his dirty brown paper bag before him. Most likely all he owns in this materialistic selfish World. Staring at the table, motionless, as if isolation and despondency descended upon what little remains of his Spirit.  I was so excited and grateful however. I thanked Ke Akua and humbly asked him to keep him there, as I drove back out onto the main street and made my way back to the drive-thru on the other side of the parking lot. 

I quickly ordered him his own meal with a large iced-tea thinking it was better than soda for him. Luckily the cashier was a different person than the one that had just served me my previous meal. I was a little embarrassed if they recognized me coming through the drive-thru twice in less than a half-hour.

I then made my way back to the other side of the center Praying he was still there. He was. Still motionless. 

I parked my car and eagerly masked up and put on my goggles, then grabbed his food and drink and made my way over to where he was sitting. 

I could see that he noticed me approaching, without looking up at me, and I could sense some fear or apprehension. As if I was going to confront him, or tell him to move so I could sit and eat my meal.

I said, "Brother... I just bought this food for you. Chicken and fries. And an iced-tea."

He slowly looked me, somewhat unsure and a little incredulous. Maybe wondering what strings were attached. Was I going to preach a sermon to him. Ask him for something in return. Assault and rob him of his brown paper bag.

I looked at him, in his large glistening soft worn-out eyes deeply set in a ravaged leathery face. I could only imagine what he has been through. It almost seemed that he wasn't looking at me, but through me. Then he quickly averted his eyes and looked down again.

I smiled again, and said cheerily, "The straw for your drink is in the bag. You take care brother. And know that I Love you..."

He looked up, smiled and said softly, "Thank you..."

As I turned, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. Gratitude and Humility filled the dark reaches of my Soul.

I knew somewhere in the distance, a Security Guard was watching, waiting to chase this man away. But now he had every right to sit there and enjoy some food and drink. Some kindness. Some compassion. Some Love.

As I walked away, I heard a much more confident and happy voice, exclaim, "Have a good night!"

I said, "Thank you. You too!"

Little did he know, that in the Reflection of just how Truly Blessed this Life is, how I have so many Blessings that I still often take for granted, that this Ravaged Soul, gave me the Gift of Purpose. Understanding. Self-Reflection. Yet Once Again...

And not just a Good Night. But a really Great Beautiful Healing Night...

Let us All continue to help Lift each other up on this Great Mountain of Life...

For it was Truly his hand that reached out and pulled me up again on this Incredibly Beautiful Amazing and Magical Journey as we All head up this Mountain. Heading back Home...

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