I was watching that You Tube video again…the one about the blind man sitting on the concrete walkway with his little cardboard sign, begging for change. He is getting a minimal response: a coin here and there, but certainly not enough to even buy him a cup of coffee. Then a well dressed lady stops, picks up his sign, rewrites it, and walk on. Suddenly, everyone is throwing money at this poor blind man. He’s clearly amazed. So when the lady stops again after a long successful day of begging, he asks her what she did to his sign. She responds that she said the same thing, just differently. She has reworded the sign to read, “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.” ( In case you haven’t seen the video: Blind Man Begging) I’m looking out my living room window as I type this. It’s a beautiful day. But I can’t see it. No, I’m not blind. Not physically blind, anyway. But I am emotionally blind. My soul is blind. My heart is blind. Because I’m so depressed, no matter what good there might be right in front of me, I can’t see it very well. Not really. Everything is completely overshadowed by the bleak, gloomy, gray that cloaks everything in my world, like a thick fog that provides a shroud around everything, everywhere I look. Depression does that to a person. It sucks all the beauty and life out of one’s existence. It makes me blind.
I truly do try to find beauty in the small things. At this moment, one of my Schnauzers (Zoe) is laying on my legs, dozing, content, snoring lightly. The other (Hannah) is happily chewing a Nylabone on my lap, secure, safe, adored. I love them both fiercely. I take pleasure in them. They are one of the few reasons I have for getting up in the morning…for continuing to live. It’s not as if each day doesn’t hold some good.
Birds do sing outside my window.
Inside, I am alone. I am surrounded by silence…except when Zoe and Hannah alert me to a child running through my yard or to the arrival of the mail. Or perhaps a squirrel or rabbit has invaded their yard. Mostly, I listen to the refrigerator hum. The heater kicking on and off. A jet as it flies overhead on the way to some distant airport. The keys of my computer click and the hard drive hums quietly. Occasionally, sirens wail as the fire trucks and ambulance rush by on the main road closest to my house. At certain times of the day, I can hear a low, muted roar from distant rush-hour traffic. There is no laughter. No conversation. The click of doggie toenails on the tile or their paws as they pad on the carpet behind me are the only other footsteps in my life. There is no hand reaching out for mine. No welcome hugs. Excited dogs bring much needed life to my otherwise bleak reality. I try to make that be enough.
My reality threatens to swallow me whole. I fight the darkness. I want to see. I want to live. But life laughs in my face and runs away. It remains always just out of my reach. So elusive. Unattainable. It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it. I can’t reach it. Can’t touch it. There is so much pain. So much brokenness. So many regrets.
It’s a beautiful day. But I am alone. It’s a beautiful day. But I am drowning in debt. Jobless. Terrified. It’s a beautiful day. But my soul has been nearly destroyed by childhood abuse and rejection. By isolation. It’s a beautiful day, but my heart is heavy, shattered, hurting. I am unloved. Unwanted. It’s a beautiful day, but I have nothing to look forward to. More struggles. More loss. More pain. It’s a beautiful day, but I can’t see it. My eyes strain to find the beauty. I try to make the tiny things enough of a reason to go on. But I am overwhelmed by my wounds. By emptiness. By devastation.
There is no magic pill for me. None of them touch the darkness of my world. None of them open the window or door. None of them begin to set me free. There is no way to write the sign in a nicer, prettier way to evoke the help I need from those who pass through my shattered world. My dilemma can’t be solved by coins tossed in a can. Although the money would certainly help. The crowds pass me by without seeing me…as blind to my darkness and need as I am to the sunshine through which they walk. We exist on different plains. In different dimensions. There is no portal through which I can cross over to the warmth and caring of their world. No surgeon can repair the damage. No psychiatrist or psychotherapist can put my fragmented soul back together again. I haven’t any second chances. No miracles appear to be waiting in the wings. It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it. Can’t touch it. Can’t get there from here.
There are things that could make a difference. There are people who could as well. But I don’t live in their world and they don’t want to believe in the existence of mine. It’s too harsh and cold. I would cause them too much inconvenience. Too much trouble. I am never worth the effort. The expense. The love.
If you live in the sunshine and you can see the blue sky most of the time, be thankful. I’ll not bother you unduly. If you walk in the warmth of love and acceptance and have a good portion of your needs met, be grateful. I’ll not cast a shadow across your path. Enjoy your beautiful day. Bask in it. Dance. Laugh. Reach out and touch the people you love. You don’t have to look at me. You don’t have to see my sign as I sit, lost, needy, hurting. You can walk on by, go home, hug your partner, your children, your lover. You don’t have to be bothered further…I am but a speck in the eye, easily blinked away.
It’s a beautiful day. I can’t see it. I’m glad someone can. Enjoy it. Hold it close. It is a precious, precious gift.