I recognized you the second your face popped up on my news-feed. How could I forget? I passed by your intersection on and off, sometimes every day for years.
You were polite and never pushy when asking for money. I remember the can you carried was always so small, as if you thought you wouldn’t walk away with much that day.
Reading about your life struggles and watching the pain in yours eyes as it liquefied to tears. It shattered my heart to pieces, but not for the reasons some might think.
I’m not left feeling sorry for you, or feeling pity about your physical differences, because you seem to have accepted that a long time ago.
I’m sorry about what’s happening on the inside.
Your story is the same story that a lot of us have, likely of a different circumstance, but the same, nonetheless.
You see Reggie; we’re all struggling to forgive ourselves. Forgive ourselves for what we’ve done, who we’ve been, what we haven’t done, or who we haven’t been.
We’ve all done things we regret, but we, you, I, can do better. We’ve all been people we wouldn’t want to look at in the mirror and admit who or what we’ve become, but we must if we want to become someone better.
We’re the same.
I wish I would have known the cause of your burns were from self inflicted pain.
I wish I would have known that you felt guilt every day for the person you used to be.
But really, it shouldn’t have mattered what you’d gone through. Because from what I could merely see, was that you’d gone through enough.
Maybe I could have smiled and you would have felt hope. Maybe I could have said “hello,” and you wouldn’t have felt so alone.
Would that have helped?
I’m guilty too. I’m guilty of judging you.
I couldn’t have dreamed up your situation leading up to your current circumstance. I would have never guessed you had a wife and family at one time. I would have never imagined you felt pain and guilt for the way you felt you treated them.
While I know you’re feeling sorry inside for them, I want to tell you that I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. I’m sorry that I didn’t treat you more like the strong human being that you are.
My children would ask me who you were every time we passed by. I should have asked you.
I’m sorry I didn’t.
I hope you know what your story has done for many people.
It’s inspired us, and given us a new perspective on life.
It’s given me, personally, a heavy realization that we can’t take our lives and how blessed we are for granted.
If I ever see you again, I hope to shake your hand and tell you the impact you’ve had on me.
I know you’re in pain and I know you feel alone. But I want you to know one thing.
No matter how different you feel you are from the rest of the world, you’re not.
You and I; we are the same.