Sunday, June 14, 2009

The worth of a Soul.

She loved saying hello, to anyone. People remembered that about her, the woman on the bench at the downtown corner of Southwest Sixth Avenue and Alder Street. She considered it her purpose to bestow good cheer, if only with a flash of her smiling baby blues. Her long red hair bounced when she nodded.
The first-year medical students knew none of that, of course. In a well-lit lab at OHSU, four of them stood in scrubs, plastic aprons and gloves around a gleaming stainless-steel table where the 71-year-old body lay. They took in the details: tattooed biceps, slender fingers, that red hair.
She came to them not by choice but by circumstance.
She had nowhere else to go.
She was unclaimed

This story by Anne Sexton was on the front page of The Oregonian today I encourage you to go there and read it.The photo above is the only photo that exists of this woman.
In Oregon the homeless are quite prevalent due to our mild climate here in the valley and like lots of people seeing them over time becomes part of the fabric of our lives. I find it hard at times to make eye contact with them because I sometimes wonder if but for the grace of god that it could be me. I try to give them food when I can but probably don't do enough to help them.
The article deals with what happens when you die with no next of kin.This story made me sad to think of the number of people who exist all around us that have no one who loves or cares for them and who would miss them if they were gone. It really makes you stop and think and be grateful for all that you do have.
Even though the woman in this Picture whose name was Anita I believe didn't have much she tried to make the world a better place.She would sit on a street corner in downtown Portland and smile at everybody and wish them a good day.The day her two sons had a small memorial service for her at her bench when they turned the corner there were at least a 100 people there whose lives she had touched(office workers, merchants, etc.). It just made me realize that whatever we can do to help another person each day maybe even if it is only a smile just might touch another persons soul. It also makes me know that every human soul has worth and value.
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could exhibit a little of her sweet spirit?
Seldom do people discernEloquence under a threadbare cloak.~Juvenal
There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. ~Mahatma Gandhi


Chris H said...

It is very sad about that lovely lady... and she must have been, even if she didn't have anything else to give but a smile. A smile is a lot ya know?

Thanks for visiting my blog, even if you found it funny... I did not today.... but the shopping helped! *smiles*.

Deborah said...

This is so sad and so sweet in the same breath. Thank you for stopping by my blog so I could find you! I most certainly will be back for another visit with you. **blows kisses** Deborah

Chris H said...

Ahhh, tis alright mate... obviously I am having A VERY BAD DAY! LOL
Am going to sit down and watch some mindless mid day tv and have me lunch... that should make me feel better!
And don't worry, it takes A LOT to offend me!

susanc said...

Wow, what a sad and yet powerful story. It is amazing how people can touch our lives in even the smallest of gestures.

Thank you for sharing this story. I am going to read the entire article online.

Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. I am also glad to have found yours! Have a wonderful Sunday evening.

Karen Deborah said...

that is a sad story.

Willow said...

Beautiful tribute.

Yolanda, are you familiar with Blanket Coverage? It's a ministry in Portland that focuses on the homeless in downtown. I used to volunteer with them (the people who started it are friends of mine) when I lived in Portland. It is very possible that Blanket Coverage people knew her.

Just Joni said...

It is this very search for grace that has taken me to the streets of my own area to feed the homeless every week. I've began calling them my friends because truly they are. They each have a story (as we all do). Their presence is unique and reflects a lifetime search for acceptance. Please, please look them in the eye, smile and say hello...there is nothing to fear. I love this post and I know all too well that there are many Anitas out there that we just pass on by. Those who cared enough to stop and hear her story or share food with her are blessed beyond the typical. May she rest in peace knowing she has touched so many ~

Such a sweet sweet post Yolanda ~

Carolynn said...

That was a lovely post about a woman who did make a difference. I work in an area that has a lot of homeless people. Sadly, a lot of them are addicted to drugs or are mentally ill, so it's safer to be a bit wary of them. I have, nevertheless, befriended a couple in the 8 years that I've worked there and will make eye contact and answer others as well, if they approach me for money. I think it's much more dehumanizing to ignore someone completely than it is to simply say, "No, not today." and offer a smile.

Just my two cents.

Roslyn said...

This is so sad, this lady had two sons but she was homeless? Some choose that life I know.
Just goes to show, your smile may mean much more than you know.
thanks for visiting my blog,I'm always pleased to know others enjoy my quilt art!

Nicci said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is so moving.

Char said...

you're right - what a great change we could make in the world, starting in our own city.

ladybug said...

what a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing this and bringing it into focus.

There is enough love in this world to go around (just like there is enough food to feed everyone) we just need to improve how it gets distributed.


Tess said...

This is really touching, and encouraging. Anita's humanity never left her.

Deidra said...

What a beautiful post! This is a great reminder to me to honor the soul of each person. Everyone has a story...a beginning and an end. We are all connected, right? Thanks so much for sharing this story.

inlandempiregirl said...

Thanks for sharing this story.

Sara said...

Yolanda, thank you for sharing this story. A touching reminder to all of us to reach out and help as much as we can, and that everyone is precious in God's sight, and so should also be in ours.

Paula said...

This is such a bittersweet story, Yolanda. What a blessing it must have been to Anita's sons when they saw all of those people and realized how many people their mom's smile had touched. That's so beautiful.
Thank you so much for sharing this.

The Bumbles said...

I think that just because people in traditional society can't claim someone deceased doesn't mean no one knew them. Many times they don't have the means or knowledge to do so. Everyone is known - and I'm very glad to have been introduced to Anita's life through your post.