Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lessons from the Mud Run

We did the ACMHS Mud Run a few weeks ago according to our new family status ~ without Rees and John (Still having a hard time with that.). Ken ran the kids' 2K with Ian, Luke, and Joseph, then the adult 5K with Clare.

I just walked around with Addie and plied her with hot dogs and water cups, which were probably for the runners but she's cute so the grilling guys gave her whatever she asked for.

I witnessed an incident that had a profound effect on me. I've written before that homeless people scare me: I'm wary of their looks, their smell, their stories, their choices, their mental health. I'm certain one will grab me or ask me for something or breathe on me. I avert my eyes and hope they will just get a job, take a shower, or buy an apple for goodness' sake. Well, I got Addie a drink, popped her up on some sort of cement table, and noticed two homeless men lounging at the other end with hot dogs. Indignation welled up. They are not part of this; they just drifted over because they smelled the grill. I busied myself getting out her enzymes when one of them spoke to me (Oh no). "Pretty soon, you won't be able to lift her so easily," he grinned, proudly exposing his blackened teeth. I tried very hard to focus on his eyes through the grime and didn't notice any leering creepiness, so I took a breath and answered, "Yeah, I hate to think of that." He bobbed his head and poked his friend in the arm while the two of them cackled cheerfully. I moved the two of us away, pretending that I wanted my own cup of water.

Then, one of ACMHS staff, a lady I recognized from the company picnic but couldn't remember her name, approached the men and I heard her say, "You guys enjoying the day? How're you doing? We're raising money for supplies for our community mental health." They chatted some more (which I couldn't completely hear because remember, I'd moved away) and she meandered off to mingle with others. She did not shoo the men away or confiscate their hot dogs. The exchange was pleasant. I sniffed.

Then of course it hit me that I was being a jerk. Again. There was no need for rudeness. Look what I have. Mercy. Kindness. Food. Drink. Family. Love. Humanity. They deserve it, too.

I wish I could have gone back and asked that man if he had children, if he was enjoying the nice weather and tasty lunch. I wish I was as cool and friendly as Ken's coworker. Next time.

Love, Allison

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