The Outsiders

On Friday, I went downtown in my beautiful city. I love venturing to Toronto’s city centre. There is no shortage of beautiful sights, and interesting people! That day had an extra dose, for some reason. There was a myriad of university students smoking marijauna! Not a lover of the smell, I ventured into the Eaton Centre, and found my way to the Indigo bookstore. I love reading, so it was a natural place to settle for a while.

The discount tables often offer some fantastic deals. Besides, I had a gift card that I wanted to spend. Soon after I arrived at the table, a man came up to me and said, “Excuse me Ma’am, could you spare $2 for a cup of coffee?” I proceeded to grill the man as to why he needed MY two dollars.

This isn’t something that I normally do. Most times, I just give the change that I have laying around. If I’m on the ball that week, I would have gone to Tim Horton‘s and gotten a bunch of $5 gift cards. This way, I can be sure that the money won’t go to drugs; although to be quite certain, they won’t be getting proper food, either! But, I wasn’t ready to part with my $2 without some answers.

Why did I decide to engage that particular person is beyond me. He was fairly well-kept. His hair was not nappy, he was clean. However, after asking him why he was begging and not working to pay his way, I got a story that pulled at my heart-strings.

Daniel came to Canada with his mother years ago. From the conversation, his mother is not readily available to interact with her son. He eloquently explained that he is alone, trying to get his life together after being in a hospital for a while. He, however, did not want to be in the hospital. Daniel has schizophrenia.

I stood in the bookstore and thought, “I could feel alarmed, but I don’t”. You see, his problem was that society has ostracized him. He has not been able to find a job because who wants to hire someone with the word “schizophrenia on their resume?

As I listened to Daniel, I realized that I had a lot of negative stereotypes about what a person with schizophrenia looked like. He spoke well. He actually engaged me and made me want to know more. He was intelligent. The bookstore was one of his favourite hang-outs. One of his past times was reading Shakespeare. I don’t even read Shakespeare! Daniel and I talked for at least 20 minutes. I thought that I would like to keep in touch with him, so when he asked me for my number, I gave it to him as we separated.

As I left, I thought, “I just gave a perfect stranger my phone number”. Was I wrong to do so? Only time will tell. I do know that my conversation with him has made me ponder: We as a society are so quick to ostracized someone that doesn’t “fit in”. I know how Daniel feels. I have been shunned by the religious community because I am divorced. I have been pitied because I left an Abusive marriage. Looked-down on because I was larger (I call it fat). He was, and I have been one of “The Outsiders”.  I needed to shed MY hang-ups to let this man into my life, however that may look. I needed to be open to the fact that he may be able to teach me a thing or two about endurance, as he has been through more that I probably could have endured. I need to learn to trust. I have been badly burned by men, so it’s easy to dismiss them. I could dismiss him as being insignificant.

Last night, Daniel called. When I conversed with him again, he expressed to me how grateful he is to God for being alive. He is thankful that he has a place to call home and food to eat. “Life is good”, he said. WOW! I have embraced gratitude, but to be in his predicament, would I be thankful as well? I hope so.

I know that it was risky giving Daniel my phone number, but I think that we sometimes don’t take enough risks in life. I’ve already wasted 23 years in an abusive marriage, what have I got to lose? Oh yeah…”What if Daniel is lying?” I’ve met “normal” people who have disappointed me over and over again. I’ll take the chance on this person!

Have you ever taken a “chance” on someone? Please tell me. I’d love to hear your story.  🙂

May your cup always be full,

Emerging Princess

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. moorestorms
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 17:37:33

    What an amazing story! I’m so glad that when he reached out to you, you allowed yourself to reach back. People come and go out of our lives….we may never know the reason, but there always is one 🙂

    Reply

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Water For The Journey

Book Release PartyOctober 25th, 2013
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