Published author, leadership and organizational development mentor, inspirational speaker, advocate for cold noses as healers Architecting a social movement of unconditional listening one voice, one story at a time
A carriage ride guided by a driver one might label “carefree”. Introductions to a street sweeper, a published poet with impeded speech. The street sweeper who did not find words easy to voice was touching hearts with his weaved words of choice. The driver with an Engineering degree opting instead to chauffeur strangers during vacation retreats.
The street sweeper once high on a corporate ladder, now a broom he leads. The driver with a message “each day fully seize”. The street sweeper with a smile that doesn’t hold any trace of defeat. The driver with a gentle reminder “each person has a story – often unseen”.
Would I have noticed this street sweeper if a driver hadn’t shared what at face value I couldn’t see? Or would I have passed by the street without even glancing? Would I have given this sweet soul near the time I have given him since? If he had said “hello” would I have quickly smiled, returned a “hello”, yet not been moved to write this?
A thud against a window pane can send me running immediately; my hope that an extended hand will help a friend regain its wings. Soft words the encouragement, or sometimes no words need to be said; warmth and a steady hold enough for it to catch its breath. “Namaste little one, you are okay”; then a watch for the rise and fall of the chest to slow and the eyes to begin to awake.
I can notice one so slight who will soon fade into an indistinguishable flock of many in the sky. Do we give the same attention to a stranger, to a passerby? I can hold a feathered friend in my palm and feel I have just received a gift in the moments shared. Do we give encounters with strangers the same care? Is there a loud knock against a window, metaphorically, that we do not heed? A non-assuming person who has something to teach?
The story of this gentleman with a broom still largely a mystery; what turn of events led him to tending to this street? I anticipate it is intertwined with tragedy of some kind, a fork in the road where the human spirit temporarily died. But I also perceive that just as my little winged friend caught its breath to fly more, this gentleman found a strength and will at his core. Just as this winged friend has a purpose to continue to sing that we benefit from its melody, this gentleman too has a purpose that includes sharing his heart through his poetry.
Each person has a story, more often than not one we may never see. And yet, it is often the quietest ones who have the most to teach. Perhaps there is opportunity to listen more than we do. Like hearing the story from a gentle soul and the push of his broom.