My daughter, Kahrin Spear is off on a 5-week trip with her college friend Katie O’Connell promoting a movement Katie pioneered and they are co-creating called My Life an ODE. This movement is about slowing down, reflecting, and giving thanks to all types of people, places, and moments in our lives. The story below, in my daughter’s words, captures a conversation they had this week with a homeless man in Seattle about his “ODE.”
Did you know that Seattle has a pretty dense homeless population? I didn’t before coming here. They are everywhere. Standing against the walls, asleep under underpasses, set up beneath the shrubbery on the hillsides, or sitting on every street corner. Moreik happened to be sitting on a street corner against a light post. I have a hard time passing homeless people without giving them at least the 20 cents jingling in my pocket, but in Seattle… if I stopped for every person along the way, I’d be stuck on that corner too.
But Moreik’s sign caught my attention. It read “I don’t care who you are, I love you…” and then proceeded to state what he needed from the passerby. I stood there for an uncomfortably long moment reading and rereading his sign until he finally said, “Hi”.
I proceeded to tell him that his sign was interesting to me and asked him what he really needed. He replied, “a million dollars, the cure for cancer, a cure for diabetes, and a cottage in Maine.”
I cocked my head to the side and sighed saying that unfortunately I couldn’t provide him with any of those things, and asked him once more what he really needed. “I need $6 for a bus ticket to get home.” When I asked him where home was, he described an underpass at an intersection of two streets. So, I sat down crisscross applesauce to ask this man what his story was and why he was on this corner…
“I just had a couple of bad breaks in a row.”