Finally, I have a chance to breathe.
Late night and New York City streetlights stand tall over an otherwise empty corner near Lexington and 43rd.
(I’m sure you know the place)
The summertime in the city is different to me somehow and as I stand, staring up at the Chrysler across from Grand Central Station, I lower my view to watch a herd of out-of-towners, dressed in their city best, and trying hard to fashionably fit in this metro world of ours.
I watch as they pass the homeless who find shelter in the train station, who sit on the sidewalk holding signs asking for change, or who sit in the food court in Grand Central’s lower level and bathe in the bathrooms.
I watch girls walk hand in hand with their boyfriends who try to appear protective of their young lady friends. On occasion I see some of them harass or laughing at those who live on the streets; meanwhile, there is a man sitting near me on the ground and somehow, somewhere, this is a funny to them.
I am alone for the moment. I am not uncomfortable or isolated. I am simply just breathing and taking it all in; I’m taking in the goals I have set for myself and acknowledging the goals I’ve reached. There is no one else with me during this late hour. All there is here is me, wondering, thinking about a dream I had a few months back while visiting in Whittier, California.
It’s amazing to me how time can unfold, life moves along, and without so much as a blink of an eye, months pass by as if they were seemingly no longer then a few seconds.
Standing in post-midnight air and content to dream of the life I deserve, most of the world are resting their eyes at this time and sleeping in their beds while I am lost in thought. Most in this world are misguided, searching, or unenlightened. And certainly I cannot claim to be better or at a higher level of awareness than anyone else. I can only claim that I am tired of wondering. I’m tired of overthinking and worrying.
Standing with my back against the wall of a tall building, I think of where I am in life as well as the places I have and haven’t been.
I have been here for quite some time now, —working long hours in this neighborhood, I mean. I’ve been working here and trying to find my way, which seems to be happening before my very eyes..
I have seen changes in the neighborhood over the last decade and watched shops change, businesses move, and stores go bankrupt.
Even me. I have seen changes in me as well. I have seen my share of ups and downs in both a financial and emotional sense. I lost myself while I was working here and then I found me again. I lost my mother while working on Lexington Avenue. I went through my own kinds of personal bankruptcy and seen me come from behind to get ahead again.
I think back to when it all began ten years ago. I think about when I was new here and my opinion was different from what it is today.
Then I go back to that soft spot where I spent a week in the sunny side of town, Los Angeles, and the mixtures I saw of both wealth and poverty. I think about my new friends I met on my trips and the inspiration this has led me to.
And yes, I think I was lost for a while. Yes, I think I was looking for something to push me into position, and now that it has, I look back with disbelief because so much has happened in such a short amount of time.
I am not confused at all by this at all, by the way. I am just amazed by all that has come to light.
A few months back, I sat in a small room with a man at a facility in Pasadena. And bless him.
Bless this man and his entire life.
Bless his mind, which was chemically aloft and far from reality; his thought process was distant from sanity, he was lost someplace and far detached in the tragic bliss of certain disorders and mental illness.
He looked at me with widest blue eyes like a wild man’s. His blonde and brown long, straggly hair was unkempt and shaggy. Black dirt rimmed around the fingernails of his long, thin, scraped and scarred fingers. He was the maddest of mad, crazy and brilliant, vagrant, yet still beneath it all, I tell you this man was alive with a trace of beautiful childishness. I swear he had hold of something that would not allow him to understand the heartless rules of the world around him. And there was something beautiful to him; however, I am sure no one dared to see it, I know there was something beautiful about him.
He spoke to me for a short while. He was not looking for help as much as he was simply looking to relate to someone, to speak to someone, or more importantly, to b treated like a human being by someone else. And it was an honor for me to oblige this man.
His eyes blinking nearly continuously; tiny ticks twitched at the corners of his mouth as he told about walking around on Hollywood Boulevard for three days with no shoes or socks. Yet still, he somehow managed to keep a sort of loving faith in humanity, —and unlike others in the room who complained, unlike others who were outraged that “this” had become their life, the man endured without opinion or excuse. He never complained or explained. He simply carried on without blaming anyone else and spoke politely about the way he felt and the man he was —he was homeless, forgotten, unwanted, and yet still, he was capable of showing love and generosity.
Maybe it was the setting that changed me. Maybe I saw something that opened my eyes, and at last, I saw a possible future for myself. Maybe it was the trip or the dream I had to reach California at least once in my life that triggered the recent events. Maybe it was the curious question I have with regards to my dreams about whether I could be someone above average; or whether I could be someone who made an impact, or someone who left a mark on society and to be passionate enough or brave enough to step away from my complacency and decide to make a real change in this world.
Later that night, I recall standing alone on a balcony. With the moon above, City of Industry was not too far off in the distance to my visible left. The juicy parts of L.A. were to my right, and somewhere ahead of me was a dream of mine about to unfold and take new shape.
I can’t say how things happen or why we meet certain people. I can only say that circumstance and a system of events have changed the way I see things.
And I admit I was stuck.
But not anymore
I have an entirely different view on people now. In fact, I can say that wholeheartedly, some of the wealthiest people I have ever met in this world are literally penniless. And some of the ugliest live in the wealthiest homes and yet still, they have nothing
All I know is I want to do something with my life.
No matter what I have in the bank, I want to be the kind of wealthy that cash cannot buy.
I want make a change
And you know what, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Right after I get some sleep.
Long hours at work without free moments are not easy but in the end, I know what I’m doing will be worth it . . .