Invisible Christmas Man
I have this photograph of me as a kid on Christmas morning. It’s around 5am on December 25th. I am kneeling down opening gifts from my mum and dad by the side of our tree. The photo is interesting. It’s the 1970’s, mum and dad’s house is all orange and brown swirly wallpaper with a white space age dining table. You can only see me in the photo wearing orange underpants only even though I remember the house being freezing. My face speaks for itself. EXCITING! I am only about 10 years old. In those days I used to do lots of fishing. In one hand I have a new reel and with my other arm I am leaning against my new fishing basket. Magic times!
Back to 2008 then. Yesterday I went into Manchester with my wee darling daughter, Lily. She is gorgeous and dresses very edgy with a great, happy, positive interesting attitude to life. As we walked from the car we passed a young guy sat on the cold wet uninviting stone floor of the street! He was a mess, a real mess. His clothes were totally filthy. Honestly … he looked disgusting. His fingers were the dirtiest I have probably ever seen. One shoe was open at the front, his toes were exposed. His hair was matted, his skin had aged hom 30 years! His eyes, face and manner were down, low, disheartened and had given up on life. Lily looked at him with the innocence of a child and asked me who he was.
I told Lily … “he is one of the invisible people, no one can see him”
Lily said… “what do you mean dad?”
I replied … “darling lets stop and watch for a second”.
We did. We stopped and watched and you know what we saw?
I asked Lily “how many people looked at him?”
Lily replied … “none!”
Yet we saw dozens of people on their way to spend masses of cash on Christmas walk past this young man, down on his life and not one person saw him. He was to all intents and purposes … Invisible! Yet with a tear in my eye I couldn’t help walk away holding my wee darlings hand tight, lean down kiss her on the cheek and think this young man was once a 10 year old child opening his gifts at 5am Christmas morning from his mum and dad also.
What went wrong to this young man?
What went so tragically wrong in his life? I could judge him and call him a filthy, lazy tramp. But how can I judge another life when I have my own to look over and try to control.
Things never go the way we expect them to do they?
Life never takes the road we really want it to does it?
Occurrence sometimes jump right out in front of us and hit us in the face when we least expect it, true?
And maybe because this young guy has had a long series of out of his control things take place in his life not only is he down and out … he is invisible to help and assistance from others.
Wow … I feel tearful writing this one. It’s a small but true story and the only thing I want to say to you is this. If you see an invisible person over the holiday may I ask you please to ‘see’ them and do one single act of kindness for them. I promise it’ll make your holiday break more special than anything.
Enjoy your break. I can’t wait to make 2009 my best year ever!
Regards, Alan Forrest Smith