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Angel In Disguise? (Part 2): It's Worth A Try
Written by Toy   
June 27, 2012
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Angel In Disguise? (Part 2): It's Worth A Try
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**Note: If you haven't, please read Part One of this post first: ANGEL IN DISGUISE? (Part 1)

 

Joseph sleeping.

Joseph sleeping near Grand Central Station. 7/27/10


I saw Joseph again two weeks ago, sleeping on this bench across from Grand Central Station. It'd only been two months since our last encounter, but this time I was surprised to see him...and slightly overwhelmed. Actually... I was very emotional and I panicked. Maybe it's how while in the midst of my mad dash home from an audition (straight from the subway to my agents' office, through Grand Central Station, and straight back) I somehow ventured off-course through a nearby FRIDAY'S restaurant (with my own conscience directing as clearly as a GPS—'go this way, now go that way') then out through a random exit door and around the corner where I stumbled upon: Joseph sleeping! That shook me. I know by now that it's not a coincidence the way he just seemed to "show up" when there's a lesson to be learned. I could tell by the fullness in my heart— a tugging, pressing, pulling sensation—that this encounter was the preface of some type of necessary exchange. When you get that kind of feeling, you can't ignore it. You can't just walk away...

 

It was about 88 degrees that evening as he slept on a bench upright with 6 plastic bags at his feet. He looked so peaceful and vulnerable, despite the rumbling trucks & honking cabs passing by. I was nervous to approach and afraid to wake him. I had no clue what to say. Honestly— what do you say to someone in his position? "How are you?" I can SEE how he's doing... HE IS HOMELESS. And worse, what could I do about it? I could give all the money in my pocket to help him today, but what happens tomorrow? Some problems don't go away with money... I wished I could give him something more, but I didn't know what...I paced the block waiting for an answer...frustrated by the heat and indecision....slightly deterred by the suspicious stares of the newspaper boy on the corner....moderately embarrassed by the wealthy sophisticates glaring from the patio at the Cipriani. But I waited...and contemplated...and waited... and watched from across the street...and around the corner...and rehearsed dialogue... and shifted nervously waiting for an answer...and promised I wouldn't leave until I got one.... Before realizing I'd just stood there—for an entire hour.


Eventually he began stirring, so I approached the bench to say hello.

At first he seemed confused, but then he replied...

 

"How ya doing?"


I wondered aloud if he remembered my name.  He answered with a smile, "Yes-- TOY".


I took a seat next to him on the bench and pulled up the picture we'd taken together two months before on my cell phone, and reminded him of the number I'd given him.


"Yeah, I remember", he smiled again. "I tried to call you..."

 

"Really, you did?... Well what did you need?", I asked.


"Oh... I think... I just needed a pair of pants or something..."

I looked down and noticed he was still wearing the same pants from the picture, held up with rope.Compared to the picture, I could see how much thinner and weaker he looked than he before. His skin seemed dull and leathery, and his eyes looked sunken...and this time they didn't sparkle.


My eyes brimmed with tears, then burned my cheeks and lips as they blazed down onto my t-shirt.

Then I broke down. I just couldn't hold it in...

"Joseph, I'm sorry.. I don't mean to cry....I care about you, and I just want you to be ok. Remember when I saw you last? I wrote and shared that story ....and a lot of people care about you. They're praying for you... We just want you to be ok...", I sobbed.

He nodded, but didn't look at me.

 

"Why are you out here? Do you want to be here? Don't you want a home?", I pleaded, still sobbing.


He looked up for a second, then back down at his chest and hands.

Then he paused, lifted up his arms to show his thin frame, and answered...

 

"Look at me. I'm frail... I'm fragile. What's the use?"

 

My God.... That really broke my heart.

I just sat there stiff... quietly sniffling, wiping and feeling helpless. I knew that I couldn't "save" Joseph or even to "fix" him.. but I couldn't bear to hear him give up on himself that way. I thought back and reminded him of our prayer on the sidewalk, and tried to encourage him that he could be healed if he really believed.. and I asked him if he "really believed"...

He nodded.

I explained that although I wasn't wealthy or able to care for him myself, that I'd do my best to help him however I could. He nodded.


Then I asked him—"If I was able to find a place for you to call home, would you go?"

After a long pause, he finally looked up and answered, "It's worth a try..."

 

Finally! In that instance I began to understand part of my connection with Joseph & his situation. His problem, primarily is NOT just homelessness... but HOPELESSNESS! And there is something inside that won't allow me to give up so easily on people if there is but a GLIMMER of the tiniest spark of hope in their eyes, or a clue in their words that they believe life has something better for them. Then it's my OWN FAITH that things can change with God's help that keeps me holding on & believing for greater outcomes to their situations... I'd always known that faith & hope were close cousins, but now in understanding the difference I began to understand how they work together. I have FAITH in the possibility that Joseph can be helped.. And if he has the HOPE, then he CAN be helped.



 

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