On my way to work yesterday morning, I passed a bus stop where a young man was sitting, waiting. He looked tired, perhaps a little tattered. With both hands, he was holding a cup of what I assumed was hot coffee; he seemed to have a fixed stare on nothing in particular — just a downward gaze looking out at the ground in front of him. There was a chill in the air. He wasn’t dressed for it.
In that moment that I took everything in and continued on, I wondered what his story was.
Was he down on his luck?
Had he been up with a friend all night, trying to help them through a tough time?
Perhaps he was simply going to work and he’d given his car to someone else to use for a while.
Did he head out from his home early that morning because — despite his lack of a jacket — the cool morning air provided more warmth than his homelife would have?
Did he take the bus every day?
Was his current situation better than an earlier time in his life? Or worse?
I hoped that the quiet bus stop, his coffee and him sitting in the cool morning air wasn’t going to be the best part of his day. He looked like he needed so much more. More hope, something to smile about, his own transportation or maybe just a feeling — however fleeting — to take his blank stare and turn it into eyes uplifted with optimism.
We don’t know what others are up against, what they’ve been through, what they’re going through or where they’re headed. We don’t know if they’ll be around tomorrow, if we’ll be around tomorrow or how many more days we really have to do whatever it is we think we need to do, want to do or are obligated to do. We don’t know a lot about people, but we should know that our ability — even that young man’s ability — to see, observe and wonder can lead to a U-turn that we’ve been meaning to take, a journey down the road we might’ve always wondered about or to a personal transformation. It all starts with being aware of what we have and what we’ve been dealt. And it gets better when we wonder if there’s more out there.
While I am thankful for all that I have, today I am also thankful for my curiosity to see what else can be. We don’t know until we seek.