Today we are posting our favorite challenge from the week for the Friday link-up. Mine would be the Day 2 Challenge: Write 300 Words About Anything. I know, I know...it's very unspecific, which is why I liked it! Here is what I came up with:
I watch the man from far away, balding, middle aged, sincere face. His sneakers are worn, and his black Adidas pants ill fitting. I don’t want him to know that I am glancing in his direction, in this, of all settings, the gym. Such glances could be mistaken for interest of a different kind, but I am curious. Curious about the lines in his well-worn face and the life that has been hard and the hardness that has written itself in the expressions.
I watch because I know, I know the stories that lie behind such expressions. No, not from personal experience, my own has been life privileged, despite our low income growing up. We did not have a lot, but we had a warm house, warm meals, shoes, and food—the necessities of life.
If I were someone else, someone of more affluence or polish, I fear I might look him and disregard him as a blue-collar worker with whom I have nothing in common. Instead I look at him with empathy because I see my father in his face. A face whose parents were unavailable: one a drunk the other preoccupied. A face with a history that includes a teenage suicide attempt, drunk driving accidents and a shot-gun wedding after getting a young girl pregnant.
The face has lines, and the lines tell stories, stories that beckon to be told about why he wanted to be more, but was never encouraged. About how he had hoped to give back in a big way someday, but needed to give checks to support a family first and then became tired and weary from the steadiness of life.
It is a face that I admire and a heart that I want to mend, but know that it is not my place to do so. I say a quick prayer that he be encouraged in some way on this day; by someone, somehow. It is all I have, my prayer and some compassion.
Sometimes it’s all we need.
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