Last night I was sitting on a bench just outside of Highland’s ER reading by the light from a streetlamp when a middle-aged black lady walked by and called over her shoulder,

“Can you see?”
“Yeah,” I replied. She laughed. “But I guess it’s not very good for my eyes.”
Walking away, laughing some more, “Nope!”

After she was gone, I could only think about how I wish I’d said something like, “But on a night like this, who wants to be inside!”

Later, I heard some commotion behind me and ignored it. As it got louder, a couple men started yelling, “OH SHIT, OH SHIT, OH MY GOD” and so I turned around. It was two hard looking black men almost holding each other and screaming expletives. There were tears in their eyes. One yelled, “Oh, Thank You Lord!”, to which guy on a different bench asked, “Good news?”

“Yeah.” They hugged and a friend joined them and they continued to make sounds of relief.

It surprised me, in a way that makes me feel ashamed, to see something like this happen. I’d judged them without knowing anything. They must be sad because their friend died of a gunshot wound. But what did their baggy clothes, the color of their skin, signify to warrant this conclusion? It also surprised me to see joy there, but where else is this type of relief more common? The whole night reminded me that I don’t pray enough and that I don’t realize enough the blessings of good health, and how quickly it comes and goes.


~ by justinhong on November 15, 2010.

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