I walked into the bedroom the other night and flipped on the light. There on the wall by the light switch was a rather small roach. She didn't flinch. They usually scurry away quickly. I walked past her and retrieved what I needed and then prepared to exit the room. She was still there. I said aloud, "Hello there. I am not going to smash you."
I then slowly put my finger out in front of her, inching closer to her head. She still didn't move. I was so close, that she moved one of her antennae and momentarily touched my finger tip. I kept talking softly. I then moved my finger slightly away, retreating a little. To my surprise, I thought the movement would startle her and she would bolt at any moment, but she didn't.
Instead, she moved closer to my finger and softly touched it again with her antennae. I moved away again. She slowly advanced, crawling slowly and following my finger. Retreat. Approach. Retreat. Approach.
I had a feeling if I stopped, she would climb up onto my finger. I just knew it. I lifted my finger off of the wall completely. I knew if she crawled onto my finger, I would immediately be attached and overly fond of her. Feeling somewhat responsible for her fate. I already have overwhelming responsibilities right now in Life and have no time or energy to be babysitting cockroaches, no matter how adorable.
It may seem silly and ridiculous, but it is hard to describe the feelings that ran through me. Another sentient being trusting me with her Life. We made some type of mutual connection.
As repulsive as cockroaches are to so many of us, I couldn't help but be amazed at this little Being. Her little Eyes and Mouth. I knew she has a Brain. I knew she has a tiny little pumping Heart.
I told her, "Please don't move. I am going to get my camera and take your picture." I then retrieved my camera and switched out my lenses to put my macro lens on. I kept one eye on her. Then I approached her slowly and took her picture. I kept thinking she was going to bolt, but she stayed right there, even after several camera flashes lit up the room like a strobe. I thanked her.
I then said "See you later..." as I flipped the light switch off. And sure enough, I have seen her later. I am pretty sure it is her that I see almost in the same spot every couple of days. Always at night. I let her be and give her space as I make nervous small talk.
It made me think about Trust. About holding someone's Life in your hands. About my responsibilities as Head of Household to take care of my family. In uncertain times. In times of potential disaster and life-threatening situations, to ensure my family is safe and secure.
Growing up, I depended upon my parents to take care of everything. Now I have been in that role for a couple of decades. The recent Hurricane scare made me really wake up to my responsibilities to my Loved ones. There is enormous stress that comes with it however. It takes its toll too.
Here, this little roach trusted me with her Life. That I wouldn't smash her into oblivion. It may seem silly, but it truly was a Magical connection. A mutual understanding of Mercy. Kindness. Trust.
The other night I went to Foodland and noticed an elderly man, who looked somewhat exhausted and emaciated, with bandaged legs, sitting right outside the store. He was keeping to himself and eating something out of a small plastic container.
I did my shopping and exited the store. He was still there. I got into my car which was parked almost in front of him. I watched him a little through the windshield. His bandaged legs looked bad. One leg was bleeding profusely from the knee and soaking his bandage. Like he had fallen down or something.
He actually reminded me of my Father in the last days of his Life, but a little more emaciated and sunken in his facial features. Much more decrepit looking. He seemed either shy or humble in his mannerisms. Keeping to himself.
People walked past him coming and going, giving him a little wider berth, not making eye contact. These kinds of street people are the ones I usually notice and assist. Not the ones with signs asking others for money, but the ones just keeping to themselves, who look like they could use a little Aloha.
I knew that just like my repulsive new friend, Ms. Roach, people often are repulsed by street people. Ones that appear dirty. Disheveled. Potentially diseased and contagious. Mentally unstable. Bloody and bandaged. I watched the steady stream of passer-by's looking the other way. I couldn't help but feel pangs in my Heart for his situation.
As much as it would be a struggle to get back up and out of the car, I opened my wallet. I only had a twenty-dollar bill and three ones. I needed to stop by one more place to grab dinner for the boys and thought about giving him the three dollars and hanging onto my twenty.
That seemed paltry. If I gave my twenty away, I would have to go home, get on the computer, transfer money into my savings and get back into the car and get to an ATM to pull out money for dinner. That made me even more tired, just the thought.
I got out of the car and approached him. He looked up and smiled with his bright eyes. I opened my wallet, and looked at my three dollar bills, then pulled out the twenty. "Here, this is for you brother..." He looked up and slowly held out his hand, grasping the bill. He then pulled it close to his face and looked up. "Wow! Look at how much! No one has given me this much ever... Wow!" His eyes started filling with tears. He kept looking down at the bill and then back up at me. "Oh man. Thank you...thank you..."
I said "You take care brother!" I could feel my eyes welling up with tears as more tears streamed down his face. He was such a sorry sight. "God Bless you!" he said, as he made the sign of the Trinity on his chest.
I knew that it was equally important to provide some Hope to him as well, so I added, "You will be alright. I will check on you now and then." He smiled wider and said, "Thank you so much. God Bless you!"
I told him, "Alright, Love you brother. You take care..."
He smiled and said, "I Love you too..."
I turned and got back into my car, wiping my eyes. He looked through my windshield and waved again and waved his money in the air, and then pointed to the inside of the store. He then stood up with some unstable difficulty, and hobbled and limped quickly into the store like he was famished and disappeared into the crowd.
I backed up and circled the parking lot, and then ended up pulling back into a parking spot on the opposite side. I thought for a moment, as I sat there with the motor idling, I would wait and see if he exits the store with more food and drink. Then I thought momentarily, "Oh no...what if he comes out with alcohol. Did I just feed his habit? Did I just contribute to his demise?"
As I sat there, I realized that it was none of my business. There shouldn't be any expectation when giving like that. No conditions. No strings. It was his money now to do with as he pleased. His Life. There had to be Trust on my part. In fact, there was Trust. That was enough.
So I backed up out of the stall, and drove off into the dark, feeling incredibly Joyful and Happy that the interaction went so well. I imagined him eating his favorite foods. I imagined him buying enough food to share with his other street buddies. I imagined his family in the Spirit World smiling down on our little interaction. I imagined my Mother and Father smiling down on us as well. A little kindness. A little compassion. Some shared tears. Lots of Love. And most importantly, Trust. Lots of Trust...