Yesterday, I drove from gentle Geneva to chagrinning Chicago. I’ve probably been to ten optometrists during my 51 years of wearing prescriptive lenses. I drive the 45 miles to see Michael Ciszek, OD, the best optometrist I’ve met and one of my very best friends. Seriously, he’s been honored with awards and is very talented!
I had last trekked to Clark Street and Foster Ave. in 2010; lately I’ve been hurting my neck trying to get my eyes to the proper level to read the computer screen. It was time!
Since marrying Steve-o (if I’ve not introduced him, he’s the spouse in my house, and I love him dearly), I’ve headed in to see Michael as half of our pair; two of us in the car, talking or not as couples do. This year, Steve was busy and didn’t want/need to have his eyes checked.
Yesterday, I went alone.
As is my way when I’m alone, the car is my monastery. During the drive, I visually focus on the road and psychologically focus on all things spiritual. I talk a little bit (inside my head) and listen for inspiration. I was having a wonderful mystical time, praying for those God brought to my mind and thanking God for remembrances triggered by the sights.
Then I exited the Kennedy at Lawrence Ave. and at the top of the ramp as I stopped, I glided past a woman with a folded up piece of cardboard under her arm.
PSYCHIC JOLT: I remember this! When I lived in the city, my budget included five dollars ($5) per week for those working harder than I do by darting in traffic, holding a pithy explanation and a pitiful plea. Some weeks the first beggar got all five singles (kept in glove compartment in an envelope); sometimes less was given. This was one of my ways of fueling the economy; some merchant must have made a sale due to my tiny ‘largesse’, and I chose not to be the judge of which, the liquor store or grocery store of the closes fast-food establishment. (Once I even happened to come into one who was in MacDonald’s and one of my regulars. He told me he had made enough money the previous day to sleep in a sleazy motel the night before. He had luxuriated in the shower the morning I saw him!)
If I carry more cash, I spend more. Therefore, I usually only am ‘loaded’ if I know I will need.
So “short story long”, I serenely stopped at the light, pushed the power window-down button and said in my least threatening voice “Hey, whatcha doin’?”
“Trying to survive! I’m waiting for my disability to come through for two years,” she replied.
(Nota bene: I am liberal, you need not agree with me, gentle reader. Besides, I seldom have the opportunity these days.)
I told her I used to carry cash all the time for these occasions when I lived in the city, and haven’t needed to do so for several years. reached in my purse, cleverly concealed between the captain seats in my ‘mommy-van’, and found I had three singles… nothing more. I handed these to her and told her I’m hopeful that all will be well for her. She thanked me and I continued on my way.
At ‘Visionary Eyecare’, Michael’s business, my eyes and vision were carefully examined, a new prescription was provided and I made plans to collect my new correction in a few weeks.
I headed home, encountered a man in worse shape than the previous woman on the streets and fished .53 from the well between the cup holders. He admired my 13-year old Buddy (I’ll tell you about Buddy another time, if you remind me.).
As I sit here this morning, in my warm home with my fabulous new-to-me iMac (thank you Christopher, you’re the best son a mother could want), and a reheated cup of coffee, God brought these two street people back to my mind.
Comment yourselves silly, if you disagree with my action. I know I live in a conservative area now. I’m blessed with clean streets and little need to see those who for whatever reason are less fortunate than I.
Jesus (whose way I try to follow) chided his disciples for not listening to him once, we’re told, by saying “The poor will always be with you.” Sorry “Jeez” (as I called him at age four walking into church); that’s not very hopeful. So I not have made a difference for the universe yesterday; but as for the woman (and the man) I encountered… made a difference for that one.
I believe my vision was corrected yesterday, perhaps even more than my eyesight.