I saw Abigail standing against the large granite walls of a Wells Fargo Bank. She had a cane, her eyes were open but looking away vacantly. Her small white dog nestled in a basket below her walker. I turned to look at the people walking along the slopes on a downtown Seattle street. No one seemed to notice or being paying any attention.
I approached the mildly aging woman with glints of gray in unkempt brown hair. “Ma’am are you okay? Do you need help with something?” She turns to me and says, “Yes, I am blind, and I don’t know how to use the ATM. “
“Okay no problem. My name’s is Josh- I used to be a social worker, you can trust me.”
She said okay and we started walking inside. I observed a tall bulky maybe 6’3 guy standing around the entrance but thought nothing of it.
Abigail said, “There were three large men standing outside of the door and I felt like they were waiting for me to steal my money.” I told her that was horrible and sorry it happened. We approached the atm. She gave me her debit card and I PIN number. I type it in select the cash and give her the six twenties it dispensed. She takes the money and thanks me. That same man had now moved inside and was wedging his way to the atm next to where she and I are standing. He seems perturbed. I told him, “Sorry, she’s blind and needed help.” No response. Fucking prick.
We leave the atm and I asked her if she has a roommate or someone who sees her regularly. She said she lives alone but her daughter comes to see her. I asked her if she ever gets scared. She said sometimes but she was once able to see but gradually lost her sight through degenerative glaucoma. I told her that I was sorry and that my grandmother had that too. She was a prolific painter so losing her eyesight was multi-tragici. Grandma died two years ago.
She expressed her apologies and jokingly but imperatively advises me to get my vision checked. I told her that I wear contacts so I go once a year (which is such a rip-off tbh lol.) I asked her what her name was she said, “Abigail.” She asked me what I was doing and, “are you getting those $10 flowers for that pretty girl this afternoon?” I laughed and told her a little about my journey and that “I’m just traveling through right now.” I asked her if I could give her a hug and take a picture- to remember her by. She said, “yes.” We hugged, took a photo, and wished each other well along the way.
I walked away feeling like something love and cool had happened for us both.
I think it’s my job training that has honed my critical thinking and intuitive abilities even further.
As an investigator for child protective services, you develop an eye, nose, ear, a knowing- whether a situation is off or not.
This sweet woman was huddled in the corner of a busy Seattle street. Invisible but vigilant. She knew that she could trust me. One street dog to another.
But how did she know about the girl and the flowers? I thought about that later on in the afternoon. I had been strolling through Pike’s Place Market and saw droves of enormous gorgeous bouquets of various size and varieties. I was going to grab a bouquet for my friend, Tanja, as I had been staying with her for about a week.
I forgot to get the flowers because something else caught my attention (surprise 😆🧟♂️.) how could she have known that this had been on my mind and intention? At the time it seemed maybe she was reminiscing about another person and place. My step-mother is suffering from dementia. You learn to help and modify love to a new potential when you are caring for someone with special needs.
Had we shared a psychic moment? It’s kind of an old-wives tale that when people lose their vision they begin to develop an inner sight and vision. Perhaps she was an oracle, a spirit guide, or just a person needing help. Whatever it was, I’m glad it happened. I’m always looking for the ones in the corner or in the the closet. No joke, I’ve literally found scared kids and adults hiding that way during my days as a social worker.
It made me think about people of varying sexual orientations, gender identification, people with disabilities, the elderly, vulnerable children. People of color. All the people who get forgotten, or overlooked, deemed unworthy, unlovable.
The measure of true strength and nobility is for the strong ones to help out the less fortunate- not monetarily (necessarily.) but access to free healthcare, education, moments where you see someone in distress and you stop to help set things straight even for a moment. Who and were are the blind people and places in our lives, in our communities, in our countries?
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another”- Charles Dickens, 19th century.
Non nobis solum nati sumus.
(Not for ourselves alone are we born)- Marcus Cicero
socialjusticeforlife it’s a practice in living life as a meditation of compassion and love.