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Perspective Changes Everything

Leslie Brown

I lived in somewhat, “snooty” North Dallas for years; I would never go back. I’ve learned so much more in a dirty, little country town.

My husband and I moved out here, because our house has a 1,200 square foot shop. I used to sort of add that part, as a caveat when explaining where we live. I don’t care anymore, because I can honestly say, the people here are real, and I much prefer them to the city folks.

I think when people are stripped of possessions, they are also stripped of pretense, and you can more easily see their hearts, which is all that matters folks; not skin color, or wealth, or anything else.

Lately, at work, I have spent more time with paper than people, which has contributed to a resurgence of my stress and anxiety. Today, though, I was able to put the paperwork aside and spend some time with the guests at the day shelter for homeless men where I am employed, and as always, it was time well spent. Also, true to form, one of the men reminded me why I refer to them as the finest gentlemen in all of Louisville, thanks to a kind gesture that I had the pleasure of witnessing.

As I made my way through the shelter, I heard a familiar voice call out my name, and I smiled broadly when I saw Sherman approaching me. Sherman is a former guest at the day shelter who now lives in transitional housing, but he still returns to the day shelter on occasion to help with odd jobs and projects. Sherman spent most of the day helping to deliver furniture to several other guests who recently moved into their own apartments, and he brought his trademark positive attitude and strong work ethic with him. He also brought his kind heart.

After we exchanged pleasantries and chatted for a bit, Sherman lowered his voice and discreetly nodded in the direction of a young man standing nearby and asked me, “Can you find a pair of pants and maybe a belt for him? He can’t wear what he’s got on, and he doesn’t got any other clothes.” I quickly glanced over and recognized the young man as a guest who comes to the day shelter on a fairly regular basis, and I know that he does his best to manage a mental illness and life on the streets. I immediately understood Sherman’s request, as the young man was wearing flannel pajama pants on another cold winter day here in Kentucky. Fortunately, I was able to find the requested items, and I watched as Sherman handed the bag containing the pants and belt to him. As the exchange was made, I overheard Sherman quietly say some words of encouragement to the young man, who responded with a big smile and genuine words of thanks, before heading to the bathroom to change his pants.

When Sherman returned to where I stood, I thanked him. Sherman quickly deferred my thanks by saying, “You don’t need to thank me. I just did what was the right thing to do. I try to look out for people.” As I watched him head out the front door to go home, the young man he helped emerged from the bathroom, still smiling and now wearing the jeans and belt, I thought to myself how often we pass up opportunities to do the right thing and look out for others, because we are in a hurry, too busy, too preoccupied with our own lives to notice the lives of others, assume if the person needed or wanted help then they would ask for it, think that someone else should or could help, and a thousand other excuses. I am grateful to Sherman for his reminder to do the right thing and look out for others. No excuses.

Just one thing each day. . .

Shared from Kindness Blog: kristijojedlicki

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