Friday, January 04, 2008

Tonight's the Night the World Begins Again

Walking up Michigan Avenue, after ice skating with friends at Millennium Park in Chicago, on New Year's Eve, reveling in the lovely snow I hadn't seen in 2 years, surrounded by lights, memories and splendor was surreal. (photo credit)

I'd just taken a picture of the giant Christmas tree in front of the John Hancock building when a man stopped me. He asked if he could ask me a question then asked me not to be afraid. I assured him I wasn't and that he could. Instead of asking a question, he asked me to look at his hands and showed me that he was born without thumbs. He said, "It is hard being homeless." then asked me to help.

Back when I was a single mom in St. Louis, I had to make a rule that I would not to give money to people on the street. I realized I was taking money away from my young child and that I needed it to survive. Despite this long-held rule, I was reaching in my pockets. They were empty.

I knew I had money in my bag but what could the money I had there really do to help this man? I wondered, should I give him some change? Some ones? A $20? That seemed simultaneously excessive and insignificant. Then there was that voice saying I shouldn't open my bag up to a stranger on the street.

I said something lame about how I couldn't help everyone. I said I'd just have to wish him luck. He hung his head. I patted him on the shoulder and walked away. Changed. I haven't been able to stop thinking about him and feeling like I should have done something differently.

I see so much need in the world. I'm happy to be working to make a positive difference and am about to start my work as a CASA volunteer not just a case supervisor. There are so many kids who need.

I have been discouraged by injustice in Africa and the most recent uprising in Kenya.

But tonight, I am hopeful. Barack Obama won the Iowa Caucuses. I know he doesn't have all of the answers but I believe he wants to work towards making things better for everyone.

After writing about my feelings of hopefulness, I was lying awake with a Goo Goo Dolls song running through my head. It's called, Better Days and I wanted to share it with you.

I heard it on New Year's morning, while sitting in Einstein's bagels, taking refuge from the drastically colder temperatures outside and thinking about the man I'd met the night before.

I related to the sentiment, "I wish everyone was loved tonight."

Listen to it if you can.

Here are all the lyrics:

And you ask me what I want this year.
And I'll try to make this kind and clear.

Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days.


'Cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings.

And designer love and empty things.

Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days.


So take these words.

And sing out loud.

'Cause everyone is forgiven now.

'Cause tonight's the night the world begins again.


I need someplace simple where we could live.
And something only you can give.

And that's faith and trust and peace while we're alive.


And the one poor child who saved this world.

And there's 10 million more who probably could.

If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them.


So take these words.

And sing out loud.

'
Cause everyone is forgiven now.
'Cause tonight's the night the world begins again.


I wish everyone was loved tonight.

That some might stop this endless fight.

Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days.


So take these words.

And sing out loud.

'Cause everyone is forgiven now.

'Cause tonight's the night the world begins again.

'Cause tonight's the night the world begins again.

2 comments:

.. said...

just a pass byre but your story is amazing,seems like something out of a movie

Anonymous said...

I know this is an older blog, but wow, what a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it.

I still believe in the small voice that urges us to help make better days for others. Keep listening.