The Intermittent Volunteer’s Weblog

Befriending People in Dallas Who Are Homeless

Man Walking May 30, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Man Walking

Today I was driving to lunch with one of my daughters when we saw an elderly man walking along a road in East Dallas carrying a plastic trash bag full of what I assumed were his possessions.  He looked very much in need of a good meal, so we turned the car around and went back to find him, pulling over at a cross street as he came to the corner.

 

“Hi,” I said, “Do you need some money?”  My daughter looked at me quizzically and asked quietly, “Would anyone ever say ‘no’ to that question?”  But in fact, street people often do refuse help if they don’t need it, and the question genuinely reflected the information I was seeking.  “Yes, I do,” he replied, “I could use some food.”

 

My daughter opened my billfold and handed me some cash. The man certainly wasn’t begging near an ATM or gas station — in fact he wasn’t begging period — so no panhandling laws were being broken, not that it would concern me much if they were.

 

“I’m Karen,” I said, “What’s your name?”  It was a simple name, the same as that of a famous R&B singer.  “So how’s it going?” I asked him as I handed him the money, leaning out my car window.

 

“Well, I recently got hit by a car, and it smashed my hip.  I was in the hospital, right next to a woman who had been burned over 50% of her body.  Here she was, in such bad shape, but she was happy!  She was going through so much [he described her injuries], and I had only my hip to worry about, but I was so sad about my condition.  Yet here she was, like I said, happy.  I just couldn’t get over it.”

 

Now this man, mind you, was quite thin and weathered and appeared to have very little in the way of possessions.  His eyes were cloudy from what I’m guessing were cataracts.  His walking was slow and labored.

 

He continued.  “So, seeing the way she was, [in such bad shape], but happy, I made up my mind.  I said to myself, ‘My hip is well — it’s not going to bother me any more.’  And I left the hospital.”

 

And he, in turn, was happy, inspired by the lady in the next bed.  He had decided that it was so.

 

People are just remarkable, aren’t they?

 

KS

 

Work May 22, 2012

Filed under: Random Post — Karen Shafer @ 10:10 pm

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Work

“She was nothing so solid in make, and rather less pretty in shape, but I had expended enough hard work on her to make me love her. No influential friend would have served me better. She had given me a chance to come out a bit—to find out what I could do. No, I don’t like work. I had rather laze about and think of all the fine things that can be done. I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work,—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself, not for others—what no other man can ever know.”

~~ Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness:  Marlow on the “twisted, ruined, tin-pot steamboat” he’s restoring.

Borrowed from the blog, The Greenery:

http://aviatrixkim.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/on-working/

 

Solitude May 15, 2012

Filed under: healing,inspiration,peace,The Natural World,Vocation — Karen Shafer @ 11:36 pm

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Solitude

A little over a decade ago, I had the serendipitous good luck to find myself staying in a small village in France called Ermenonville after a wedding I attended in a nearby town.  At the time, I had no idea that the [very inexpensive but lovely] chateau hotel where I was lodging was the location where Jean Jacques Rousseau had, in 1778, spent the last months of his life.

 

 

I fell in love with the village, with the castle itself, and with Parc Jean Jacques Rousseau across the street from the chateau, where I went hiking many times.  On my hikes, I carried along a journal and a sketch pad, and stopped to write and to draw various sites in the parc.  I still can’t believe my good luck in spending a week in those lovely surroundings.

 

 

The odd thing is, on one of my hikes in the park, I was grappling with the question of my own at-times-competing needs for solitude and company, and I was able so resolve some of these vexing questions while in that extraordinary natural setting.

 

 

I had read Rousseau in school but remembered little about his writing, so when I came home I purchased a book or two of his, one of which is Reveries of the Solitary Walker.  Here is an interesting quote from the chapter entitled ‘Third Walk’ on the subject of solitude, a subject with which Rousseau grappled as well.

 

 

“It is from this time that I can date my total renunciation of the world and the great love of solitude which has never left me.  The task I had set myself could only be performed in absolute isolation;  it called for long and tranquil meditations which are impossible in the bustle of society life.  So I was obliged to adopt for a time another way of life, which I subsequently found so much to my taste that since then I have only interrupted it for brief periods and against my will, returning to it most gladly and following it without effort as soon as I was able;  and when men later reduced me to a life of solitude, I found that in isolating me to make me miserable, they had done more for my happiness than I had been able to do myself.”

~~ Jean Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of a Solitary Walker, “Third Walk”

 

Parc Jean Jacques Rousseau

http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/ermenonville_parc_jean-jacques_rousseau