perspective at a red light

This morning Ren and I ran out super early for a coffee in Calabasas, which we seem to do about once a week lately since we're almost always up with the sun. It's actually fun to run out before the world is awake, wrapped up nice and warm in our pjs, as the sun is starting to peek through the horizon. On our way home, we got off at our exit only to be stopped by a red light and there was a young guy asking for money on the corner. I waved and smiled, sitting there at the light enjoying my $3 Americano. I thought to myself real fast, "I have to have something somewhere in this car that I can give this guy…" I searched my wallet and found a dollar… it's all that I had, I'm sure many can relate to never carrying cash these days. I rolled down my window, said hello and handed him the dollar. He seemed like a sweet guy. Not a day over 30. He spoke with a stutter and said thank you so much for the help. I asked him how he was doing, he followed that with saying that he was saving up for a place to rent and that he has someone interested in giving him a job as a server. What broke my heart was when he said, with a persistent stutter, "Don't worry, I don't have it that bad… there are many people that have it worse than me, I'll figure some of this out and get on my feet again. I just need money for basic things, like clothes, food and water… I don't have it that bad" {stuttering through the whole thing}. I asked him what his name was and he said Aaron. I told him that that was my husband's name, that it was a good name. He said thank you again and I waved saying goodbye as the light turned green. In the moment the conversation seemed to last much longer than a stop light cycle, but I drove away feeling so challenged by his words "I don't have it that bad.. many have it worse than me." As Ren and I then drove to the park to swing on the swings together, I couldn't help but focus on those simple statements. I feel like at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what he uses my one dollar on. For a moment in time, he felt valued, he felt human. This post has nothing to do with me, trust me when I say I'm not that good. It has everything to do with people… others.

In the season of Christmas, I want to encourage myself to look beyond me and my world and remind myself to be the light.