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The Window and the Bus Stop

Updated on April 7, 2018

Snug as a smug bug in a self-righteous rug.

I stared out of my window at him. Up here on the second floor. He was a big man who looked small from my view. He was pacing with a limp back and forth in front of the "Loser Building." It has that name from the neighborhood whispers, including myself. There were about fifteen people waiting to board a white bus that was probably donated by the city.

The bus was running and wasting tax money. Most of the people looked impoverished and all but two were obese. They were all waiting to take the bus to their homes or shelters. I focused on the one man because he was a giant compared to the others. I could see that his coat was too small. His belly protruded out and his shirt bottom flapped in the wind.

I didn't like the thoughts in my head as a couple of them lit their cigarettes. Suddenly, the big man looked right at me. I couldn't move! I wanted to back away from the window but I froze!

I felt my soul being ripped out of my body and slammed into the lives of those very people! I felt eyes of shame and condescending grins. I felt fists of drunken fathers and belt slaps of abusive mothers! I felt people calling me, "Trash" in their minds and the uncaring looks in their eyes spilled the spirit out of me. I felt the indignity of begging for a handout for my children. I could feel the emotions of a family who hated to see me. The guilt and thoughts of being looked upon as worthlessness were like nails in my heart.

I would go from a cowering child in a corner to a crying father who couldn't find work because of his injuries. Every "Yes" I heard was out of pity and every "No" was cold and brutal. Then I began to feel their physical pain. It hurt so bad, I couldn't breathe. I felt like busting the window with my fist but I still couldn't move!

Then, I was in a jungle. I felt cold and wet. I saw leeches on my hands and felt like scratching every part of my body. I was holding on to a rifle like it was my very life. I could hear and see bullets spitting through leaves of the dense, soaked plants. I heard screaming from someone to "Pull Back!" I could see shadows in the darkness. The shadows that wanted to kill me. I began to crawl and felt a sharp pain in my hip.

I crawled into a puddle of rain and blood. A soldier was breathing hard and crying for help! I crawled over him and grabbed his arm to pull him with me. I was strong. I pulled him easily and kept telling him that he would see his mom again. I shouted at God in the rain,"You can't f**king kill me. I won't die! I will not let him die!" The pain was excruciating! It felt like I had pulled him a thousand yards. I could hear a chopper, the 60 mm gun.....and then voices shouting for survivors.

I snapped out of my trance and felt like throwing up. I was more ashamed of myself than I had ever been before. I had been judging the covers of books without turning as much as a page. I gathered my senses and noticed that the people were all on the bus except the big man.

He walked with a limp around the bus, opened the driver's door, looked up at me and smiled. I could now see that he was wearing a Vietnam Veteran's hat. He is still getting people home. He had just pulled me through the jungle. The jungle of humanity.

Picture of my father in a German feild. WWII

Lessons

I added the picture of my father above because he taught me better than to look down on anyone. He fought in and survived The Battle of the Bulge and The Battle of Bastogne. I believe we are extremely lucky if God, the Great Spirit, the Universe or whatever you wish to say, teaches us a lesson.

The great irony is that I now work with people such as those I looked down on that day. They range from sweet, quiet and thankful to grumpy, helpless and entitled. What they all have in common is they are fighting to get through another day just like the rest of us.

The world has beaten much of the fight out of them but they still persist and often help each other get by. When people shout, "Get a job loser!".....another little bit of hope is sliced from a spirit. Most would work harder than the person shouting at them. Many are hanging on the bottom of an unsure government net.

I hear people sometimes say, "Well...what in the hell is wrong with him/her? They don't looked disabled. Why aren't they working?"

I say, "Spend a little time with them and you will realize...."Why aren't they working?" Most mental disorders can't be seen. Most people with these disorders are fighting everyday just to keep the little sanity and normality they have.

Thankfully, there are many entities, both private and government that people can turn to. There is housing, food, education and job assistance available to those who are seeking help.

A woman who once lived on the streets for years, stood on the steps of one of our outreach homes, crying and said, "I didn't know I could get help like this. I didn't know anyone cared." She later found a job, a church and a home of her own.

There are more stories like hers and many fine folks are out there trying to help. Most who serve within the mental health circles are not paid well, yet they are dedicated to their work and the people because they do care.

They prove everyday that a little help and understanding can go a long way.


© 2010 Tom Cornett

Comments

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    • Tom Cornett profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      agaglia...thank you. :)

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 

      8 years ago

      tom, Nicely done in a short amount of space.

      I am moved.

    • Tom Cornett profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you Giselle....very true. :)

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      8 years ago

      Wow, this hub is amazing! A fascinating and unique perspective that reminds all of us not to judge a book by its cover.

    • Tom Cornett profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      acaetnna...thank you. :)

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 

      8 years ago from Guildford

      A beautiful piece of writing. Thank you.

    • Tom Cornett profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Springboard....thank you. :)

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Nice. Enjoyed that. So much in so little space, yet neatly and tightly all together and complete. Nice.

    • Tom Cornett profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Fiddleman.....thank you....yes...we all have. Have a wonderful day. :)

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 

      8 years ago

      Great hub Tom, maybe we have all been the "righteous" judge all too often.

    • Tom Cornett profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Micky...thank you...yes they do have great hearts. Blessings :)

      Wayne....thank you....stories like this one tend to come out when my high horse stops fast at the fence. :)

      Thanks Candie...I understand....big hug! :)

      always exploring....thank you...it's a lot like the old song,"Walk a mile in my shoes." :)

      brownlickie....thank you. :)

    • profile image

      brownlickie 

      8 years ago

      Wonderful hub Tom. Your creativity shows up in this excellent hub. brilliant regards brownlickie

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This ,i must say,"Hit me where it hurts"When i see obese people,i feel disgust more than pity,in my mind i'm thinking,'How can anyone stuff themselves like this"I know it's wrong to judge anyone and i ask for forgiveness.Your story was weaved together so brilliantly.Thank you.

      God Bless

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 

      8 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      You are one of my favorites here for a reason, Tom!

      You have a way of drawing us into your thoughts and causing emotion, creating lives for us to live through. I'd like to say this was 'wonderful' but it was a hard piece to read. So much I have to recheck in myself when I look into the lives of the people around me. Stories of their lives I cannot comprehend, cannot see from the outside.

      Thank you!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      8 years ago from Texas

      I love the way you weave your experiences and knowledge of people into these stories Tom. I also love the way you can twist them at the end...ususally with a great lesson attached. Thanks for sharing. WB

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Beautiful write Tom! The hearts of the soldiers remain great hearts! God bless Brother Tom!

    • Tom Cornett profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Cornett 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you Lilly. :)

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from Central Oregon

      Empathy, it is a unique perspective. Excellent Hub. voted up.

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