Johnny is a homeless man in South Los Angeles.
Let me start by saying when homeless people usually talk to me it’s for money. Let me also say that I’ve been having a rough time since 2016. So when Johnny told me Monday that I looked like a teacher, pretty & studious I was taken back because he didn’t ask for anything. He just reminded me to smile and have a good day.
Today I met with Johnny again. I talked to him and told him what he said about me made my day. I introduced myself and treated him like we should all treat people with kindness and took the time to hear about him.
I’ll leave my story with Johnny there and go onto For Fun & For Free….
We all have highs and lows in our life. I’ve always believed in the kindness of strangers and being there for people in general. I’ve struggled with this since my marriage ended and my heart attack because I’ve felt so alone. I’ve been reminded lately of the following:
None of us are alone…It’s easy for me to isolate or hide from those who may call me out on how poorly I treat myself. I’m told I’m strong and have handled things with grace. It wasn’t always this way. I’ve learned to be kind to myself again. It’s a process but when I allow people to care about me or when I’m there for others then I and others truly aren’t alone.
There’s lessons in life…I felt my life wasn’t good because well, I’m unemployed right now and feel that it’s my fault. This isn’t true and I put too much of my self worth into what I did for a living. Outside of the worries of money (who doesn’t have those) I have a beautiful life. I’ve learned to relax more, I’ve learned to trust my gut, I keep learning. I believe maybe sometimes things happen for a reason. That maybe I’m to learn to be good to me because for years I wasn’t good to me. I over did things, I over volunteered, I took care of people who could take care of themselves, etc.
I’ve grown, we all grow…It’s simply just that. I’ve walked through so much uncomfortable this past year and I think it’s made me stronger. I’ve learned to forgive, I’ve learned to trust the unknown, I’ve learned to have feelings and express them without fear of someone running away.
It was a friend and mentor who reminded me of some of this good. Reminded me how much I didn’t take care of myself in the past. I didn’t see that. I saw that the more I was doing the more accomplished I was. I was running myself down. Since 2014 I’ve almost died and had a heart attack. All due to not taking care of me and stressing too much about life.
My friend is my friend for fun and for free. We need to be there for others in this way. I do admit that I felt abandoned by some that I was there for and I thought why be there for others when no one is there for you when you need them. Then I remembered it’s because it’s who I am. I enjoy strangers and I enjoy people. We NEVER know what another person is going through. We never know if someone just had a horrible day and maybe our smile or hello helps. I’ve tried and continue to try and do random acts of kindness where I tell no one what I’ve done because then it takes away from the good done (in my opinion).
Back to Johnny, I want to continue to have my talks with him. His circumstances are much different than mine. He hasn’t ask for anything just someone to talk to. I know some people may find it odd that I talk to strangers but I believe and won’t stop believing a little kindness can go a long way.
I have grown a lot this past year. I got through some big deals and I did do it with grace. I’ve been scared to blog. I feel I’m not where my blog was before 2014 but today after Johnny I felt the need to blog again. I’m not sure if it makes any sense BUT I do know that if I just keep blogging my blog will be again what it was. It was something I felt so good about and I want that again. It was nice to want to do something that was so much a part of who I was.
I leave you with little ways to do a Random Act of Kindness….
- Say hello to a stranger
- Smile at a stranger
- Buy the person behind you some coffee
- Put money in a expiring parking meter
- Leave a letter in a library book just telling someone to have a great day
- Let someone go ahead of you in line
- Write a chalk message on the sidewalk
- Get creative