Blind (a re-post)

This is a re-post, with minor revisions,  from 2012. I am sharing it anew as I reflect on almsgiving, a Lenten pillar together with prayer and fasting. It is quite easy to understand why we have to give alms to the materially poor. But there are other forms of poverty that we also need to be aware of.

... for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you clothed me, 
I was sick and you visited me,
I was in prison and you came to me.
...Truly I say to you, 
as you did it to one of the least of my brethren,
you did it to me.

- Matthew 25:35-36,40

Image courtesy of manostphoto 
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It was a rare afternoon off just by myself. No little one tugging at me begging to go to the pet aisle, no teenagers hissing at my ear that they need new clothes, and no husband spending too much time at the video section. At the very least, I was looking forward to a cup of good coffee taken leisurely, unhurriedly.

I was crossing the street, and saw him from the corner of my eye. A middle-aged man with eyes more closed than open. He appeared to be squinting. Lightly, he swayed his cane from left to right, to and fro. He had to be blind. He had a companion who supported his elbow while they were crossing the street.

When I reached the bus stop, the blind man was there, too, sans his companion. He lifted his head and slightly turned it from side to side, as if looking for something that he couldn't see. There was a tentative smile on his face, and he would alternately steady his cane on the ground and gently swing it from side to side in small arcs.

I got the picture. The blind man was by himself. The man I had mistook for his companion was a kind soul who helped him cross the street. I don't know why he did not go on guiding the blind man and help him get a ride. Probably he had some business and was pressed for time. Probably the blind man told him to go on for he was sure that some other kind soul would come along and help him get a ride. That helping him cross the street and delivering him to the bus stop was kindness enough. He must have thanked the kind soul and wished him a good day.

Image courtesy of pakorn 
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
That had to be it. The blind man was sure that someone would pick up from where the kind stranger left off by offering to help him get a ride. He was turning his head from side to side as if in search of something because he was actually trying to sense the presence of another kind soul. He had that tentative smile because he was telling people that if it was not too much, all he needed was someone to please read the route signs of the oncoming public vehicles and make sure that he got his ride.

That was all. That was all.

I had meant to ride a bus or jeepney to save on fare. I had not planned on taking a taxi, but when one came by, I hailed it only too quickly. I jumped onto the cab, bowed my head low, and over-busied myself looking for an unknown missing item in the depths of my purse.

The cab sped to the mall, and the sight of the blind man did not bother me anymore.

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