>Eight O’clock Wakeup

>After six shadow at 8:30 in the morning.  Fly away chocolate curls.  Scrunched and wrinkled shirt appearing as if just removed from the bottom of a week old laundry basket. Tucked in neatly; disguised as a crisp, cleaned and freshly starched shirt. Familiar scent of old garbage that has lost its smell. Un-stylishly loose fitting navy khaki slacks made to fit.  Can’t see the foot gear. Simultaneous firm and weak handshake.  A wince- a grimace- pain.  Ouch!  That’s from punching a wall last night.  Good Morning!  A warm smile.  Later… rain…. Tears

This was the start of my workday today.  Sad, but true.  A full-fledged adult.  College educated by way of Penn State.  Homeless.  Crime victim.  Broken spirit.

This man is somebody’s son.  Just five years ago, the assumption could have been made that Rob (not his real name) suffered from alcohol or substance abuse or mental illness.  Today- tough economic times have to be considered as a part of the equation.  Job loss, lack of healthcare benefits, a breakdown of the family unit, and other issues contribute to this sad state of affairs.

As I listened to Rob describe his gloomy predicament and watched this grown man break down in front of me, a total stranger, my heart ached for him.  I don’t know his life story.  I only know what he shared with me.   Times are tough!  Who do you trust?  Whose story is real?  Is it a scam?  Is there more to his story?  Where’s his family?  Who knows for certain?  A colleague and a few others reached out to help Rob.  I can only hope and pray that he’s on a better path to stability in the near future.  I should see him again in the near future.

Those of us who are parents want the best for our children. We make sacrifices for them and take steps to carefully sculpt their future.  We plan for our children to succeed, not to fail.  I think it’s safe to say that Rob’s current situation wasn’t part of his parent’s vision for him.

What I know for sure is that none of us are 100% certain as to where we will be tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. 

The spirit of the holiday season is in full effect.  In the mist of preparing for the holiday festivities with family and friends let’s remember to do something special for others who are less fortunate.  Whether you adopt a family, donate food or clothes, volunteer your time, or some other activity, your generosity will make someone’s day a little brighter.

2 thoughts on “>Eight O’clock Wakeup

  1. >Tanya as you know I see people like this everyday. Don't be naive Not every parent has a vision for their child. Some of them are too wrapped up in their own issues. They don't have time to focus on the love child that they thought would fill the gaping holes in their hearts or psyche. The young man needs to trust in himself and promise himself that he will rise above his current circumstances having used them to strengthen his character and determination. Tyler Perry and many others have done it so can he.

  2. >Jacqueline- Perhaps I’m being naïve; but I cannot help but imagine that at some point in time- even during gestation that a microscopic thought of hoping for the best outcome for their child did not occur for most.While I agree that there are parents who are immersed in their own issues, I still believe that at some point- early on- that they did want a better life for their children. They may have never acted on the thought, but the idea did present itself. I’m certain that drugs, alcohol and mental illness may have and continue to prevent many from doing what is inherently right. At the same time, I believe that malice, self-absorption, poor choices, laziness and self-imposed ignorance also contribute to bad parenting. My optimism or niceness stems from my desire to resist becoming jaded. I want to stay open minded; however, I don’t want to be the lame duck that gets taken advantage of either. I’m trying to find a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and it’s not easy.I feel as though Rob will be fine and as you said, “rise above his current circumstances.” Recently I saw him and this week as been a much better week for him. Maybe he needed a little hope last week. I don’t’ know, but it sure was nice to see him smile.Thanks for sharing your perspective!

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