Rainbow Luck

A beautiful handmade creation by PearsonMaron, an artist team local to me.  If only our factories made rainbows... http://www.etsy.com/shop/PearsonMaron
A beautiful handmade creation by PearsonMaron, an artist team local to me. If only our factories made rainbows… http://www.etsy.com/shop/PearsonMaron

There is a homeless man who lives behind my building at work.  His name is Jonathon, but there was another Jonathon in his neighborhood growing up– so he goes by Jay.

I met him the day I started my job, two years ago.  It was early and we chatted for a bit before I had to go in.  He wished me “Rainbow Luck”, an expression his mother used.  She would offer it in moderation because she believed there was only so much super-powerful Rainbow Luck to go around.

I’ve enjoyed a great two years at my job, so I can only assume Jay’s mom was right about how powerful that sort of luck is.

Over the years, I’ve suggested a few places for Jay to go– organizations designed specifically to help those without homes.  I even offered a space in my apartment, even though the conditions aren’t much better than those at a shelter.  Every time, he would reject the offer– politely but firmly.

He’s just not meant to be inside anymore, he says.

I don’t know too much about Jay’s details, like where he was born or where he went to school.  I don’t know what traumatic event caused his life to take the sharp turn that it has taken.

I often think about it, though, and I have my theories.

I grew up with parents who reign in the world of academia and I know the patterns of speech, movement, and thought that go along with a high-level college degree and teaching experience.  In real life that skill is a party trick– I can recognize a teacher a mile away, and 90% of the time guess what and where they teach.  I’d bet that, once upon a time, Jay was a college professor active in a mid-range university’s English department.

Even after years of homelessness, a teacher sounds like a teacher.

I would guess that his trauma has to do with a car accident, based on micro-expressions throughout our random conversations and his noticeable relief at the idea that I don’t drive.

I try not to mention it, though.  I figure if Jay wanted me to know, he’d tell me.

Instead I just make notes of the things that might trigger bad memories for him, and move to other topics.  Like Nina Simone and how her voice squeezes your heart, or the Big Bang and how it probably sounded like a little whisper.

Every day I work, we have these little chats.   The day before one of my days off, I leave a packet of news for him.  Nothing too fantastic, just stories about people literally slipping on banana peels and other odd news.  Sometimes I leave books or crossword puzzles.

He has a strong mind, one that I know is a little broken, but I have hopes that it can be repaired.  The worst thing in the world is for a sharp tool to become rusty or worn, so I leave those tidbits to keep him at the top of his game.  I make special efforts to select articles, books, and puzzles that won’t contain any bad-memory triggers.

The other day, Jay said he was going to try to buy a used book.  He wasn’t sure if he could manage all the necessary steps– going inside a building, perhaps even getting on a bus– but he wanted to let me know he was going to try.

I know how big of a deal this is for him, so I wished him Rainbow Luck.

He thanked me for my everyday kindness, and I objected.  Our friendship and discussions have benefited us both.  If we start thanking each other for being decent, compatible human beings, we’d never get to any other conversations.

He corrected me.  He said he wasn’t thanking for me the things I do, but for the things I let go.  He was thanking me for being at peace with where the universe had dropped him, and comfortable with our paths connecting at a less than stellar time in his life.  He was thanking me for not pushing.

Now– that I understand.  Acceptance and patience are wonderful kindnesses.  I’ve been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of such kindnesses many times in my life, though I’ve never been as gracious as Jay.  I don’t think I’ve ever thanked someone specifically for those gifts before, but next time I will.

I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve decided that Rainbow Luck is probably fueled by the noticing, giving, and accepting of tiny kindnesses.  Maybe one day, it won’t be a limited sort of luck.  Maybe enough of us will learn how to give thanks for these things, and the idea will spread– and this old world will be a new world, and we’ll be feelin’ good. *

_____________________________

B4Peace Monthly Challenge Prompt:  Write about a daily/weekly gesture or act of kindness that you perform to create peace in your home and/or community.   http://everydaygurus.com/b4peace/

 

*It’s not a direct quote, but a very close play on the lyrics of “Feelin’ Good” — “And this old world, is a new world, and a bold world for me.  And I’m feelin’ good!”

77 Comments

  1. I love this. And if you like Nina Simone, I have a book tip for you: Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice. I read that almost a year ago and it’s still a little glowing spot inside me.

    Like

  2. This is the first post I read when I woke up this morning. I am inspired to make something of my day. Your compassion and humility has mad me want to try harder today.

    Sometimes, we start out with the best intentions to help, to provide solace and friendship. In the course of it, we sometimes get lucky and become the recipients of such great gifts of wisdom, knowledge, true friendship. We learn also to be more tolerant and understanding. This is such a great display of our humanity. Thank you.

    Like

  3. Wow! I am lost in admiration for the way you are conducting your relationship with this man and using such gentle steps to help him on his way. Rainbow luck to you in this venture – and to him for trying …

    Like

    1. 🙂 Thank you! I wanted to emphasize the gentle steps on here just so people don’t go around trying to talk deeply with troubled people without knowing their triggers, so I’m glad that came through in the writing!! 🙂 Thanks for your comments and for reading!

      Like

  4. Ah, tiny kindnesses…should never, ever be underestimated. So quick, so easy, make the days of the giver and the receiver better…why can’t we manage more of them? I’m definitely better at them now than I used to be, but there’s always room for more!
    I am sure it is transforming and priceless for J that you treat him as you would anyone – as a person worthy of being listened to and respected.

    Like

  5. Fantastic. What a great example of how to treat others and what is really important. I am inspired by this. I need to be a better human being and appreciate those I am fortunate enough to come in contact with. Thank you for the tremendous story.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Jon. To me, you already seem to be a great human being but I suppose there’s no harm in wanting to improve– we could all do with a little of that! 🙂 Cheers, and rainbow luck to you as well!! 🙂

      Like

  6. rara my friend. You are one special person. You truly are. I wish everyone, including myself had your heart. Big hugs, and I’m glad we ‘met’ on here.

    Like

  7. My goodness – that is some story of a wonderful relationship. Thank you for the telling and for being the kind of human-being that that you so obviously are.

    I love the expression ‘rainbow luck’ and will be using it. 🙂

    Like

  8. this was a wonderful read. You are a beautiful person and thank you for sharing Jay with us. His words resonate and so does your kindness to each other.

    Like

  9. This is a beautiful story. That’s oh so extremely, thoughtful & kind what you do for him with the crosswords & books. If I ever fall upon hard times, I can only hope to meet a person like you.
    I wish this man a better life, even if he feels he doesn’t deserve it somehow.

    Like

  10. Oh Kozo, thank you! Though also…I would have never posted this had it not been for your prompt, and now I have to make my way through comments saying how nice I am… eek… it’s not what I meant to say with my post, only that people can surprise you and that patience is a gift. Or something like that! It took me awhile to get to the replies on this one because I was a little embarrassed by all the praise, yikes! I hope next month’s prompt is easier on me, haha! 😀 I love Thich Nhat Hanh. Yes, acceptance and patience are wonderful gifts we can give ourselves. *hugs* Thank you for your kind words and I’m so glad we’ve become part of each others lives!!

    Like

  11. I’m not sure where or how I picked up the talent, but I found out that I have the ability to not care what a person’s station in life is. I’ve rubbed elbows with filthy rich and dirt poor, total strangers and well known actors, any level of learning, any ethnicity, any religion (or none at all).
    It’s a talent I highly recommend – though it sound like you’ve nailed it! 😉

    Like

    1. 🙂 Thanks, John, yep, I’m sort of like you in that regard. Life is more interesting and balanced if you don’t pay attention to someone’s bank account balance. 🙂

      Like

      1. Oh, it ain’t just money. I sat and talked with a British gent, well-known writer and creator of several TV shows, and had ZERO idea who he was. When a couple of people came up to me after he left, and wondered how I knew him, I said I had no earthly clue who he was. They were STUNNED that I could talk to someone so famous! Hey – he was an interesting chap with great stories to me. Same thing when I chaperoned Grace Lee Whitney – I knew who she was, had a HUGE crush on her growing up, yet wasn’t the least bit tongue-tied when we’d sit and just chat. Heck, I wasted an entire Saturday afternoon chatting with Leon Lederman, at the time director of the Fermi National Accelerator Lab out in Batavia, Illinois, and one-time assistant to Albert Einstein! He was just a wild and whacky guy who told great jokes and wore thick sweaters no matter the weather! 😀

        Like

          1. Kip Carpenter, wrote and created a big import hit “Robin Of Sherwood”. as well as a couple books in one of “The Borrowers” versions. Cool guy, very down to earth, and funny. I don’t recall exactly what we all covered, just that we ranged wide and far.
            My only real tongue-tied moment was during one con, when I was sitting on the floor folding up some fliers. One of the “Blakes 7” actresses, Jan Chappell (played “Cally”) walked into the con suite in VERY short shorts. She paused to ask me something, I turned my head and started a slow tilt up her shin, knee, thigh, and … well, it was a long trip, but a GREAT one! Pity is, I babbled a bit before I got the answer out, and I think she left the suite thinking I was special. You know, short bus “special”. 😦

            Like

  12. Thanks for this. It really speaks to the fact that many people are looking for kindness and connection with others. I was really impressed with this, and loved the part that he told you he was going to try to buy a used book. He was opening up and sharing a bit of him with you, no matter how cautiously.

    Admirable and I am sure inspiring for those who read this 😀

    Happy Tuesday to you.

    Like

  13. Gems, I tell ya, you just keep dropping gems. “Rainbow Luck”, sounds so simple. And don’t simple things cause great uproars (not Rawrs, although sometimes those as well)? 🙂 I hope Jay can keep making those tiny steps.

    Like

    1. 🙂 Welcome aboard! Thanks for reading… I breezed by Reader’s Choice earlier today and when I have some time, I’ll dig through it all… it seems to be a fabulous place. 😀

      Like

  14. acceptance and patience=kindness=peace
    your moments with Jay reflect all the above and gives a great reminder to put down our fears and just flow through life with an open heart and mind. well done. ❤

    Like

  15. That’s a lovely post. You made me realise that while I believe in letting people be themselves, I also cannot stop interfering and trying to ‘help’ them, when actually they may not want my help. Accepting people the way they are is difficult, well done.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Piper! 🙂 It’s hard not to offer help, especially when you’re a talented fix-er like you are! I’m sure people appreciate the help as much as the “letting”… everybody has a different role to fulfill. Thank you for reading, and I’m sorry it took me so long to get to your comment! 🙂

      Like

  16. You are such an amazingly good person, it makes me want to be better! I often pick up garbage and dog poo around my apartment complex, but I do it with the wrong attitude (often getting angry with my neighbors for not picking up after themselves). To be able to accept people for who and where they are in life is a wonderful and rare thing (and one we should all strive for)!

    Like

    1. Thank you, April! I appreciate your kind words– and, I’m not an expert, but I think in cases of kindness, action is as important as intent. Your actions speak loudly to your character! 🙂

      Like

  17. I read this after your link from your journal post. This is about the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. People do what they do for lots of reasons. It takes a special person to just accept and befriend, no matter what. I wish we had a person at my job like you!

    Like

    1. Well, I’ve been on the receiving end of patient kindness before, so that’s probably what allowed me to pass it on, even if it IS just a minor form of what was gifted to me. It’s interesting to think of gratitude and kindness that way– an endless cycle! 🙂 Thank you for reading, Christopher!!

      Like

  18. Very deserving entry for BlogHer. With every post I read from you, I admire and respect you even more. I wish you rainbow luck for everything in life, Rara. You are such an amazing person!

    Like

Rawr?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s