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Stranded in West Los Angeles
Today I had a meeting in West Los Angeles, and with the forecast calling for rain, I got up while it was still dark outside and made my way on the 405 to Olympic Boulevard. Since I arrived early I looked for and found a coffee shop where I could stay warm and catch up on emails. It was a relaxing morning until I got in my car to start it; it wouldn’t start.
I tried everything I knew, which isn’t much as I’m not gifted mechanically. One thing I did know to do was to start making phone calls. I’m very gifted at dialing numbers. And, I know a lot of people. The first call I made was to the person with which I was scheduled to meet. I let her know that I wouldn’t make our meeting. She offered to come over with jumper cables and within minutes she arrived. Unfortunately, the cables were too short. I ended up calling my wife, Jenn, who was at home with our three boys who are on Winter Break. She was and is such an angel. She made her way on the 405 from Valencia during rush hour to get me back up and running.
While I was only stranded in an unfamiliar place for a few hours I still felt alone. No one in the parking lot stopped to ask if they could help even though my hood was opened and I was standing by my car. For a few hours I felt invisible and I didn’t like how needy I felt. It’s not easy to rely on other people to help you.
When my wife arrived she hugged me and told me she was sorry that my morning wasn’t going well. That’s all I really needed. She didn’t promise to fix my problem (though she did with the help of YouTube).
I was reminded today about how wonderful it is to have supportive friends, colleagues and family members in my life. But I was also reminded that not everyone has what I have. Some people don’t have a phone to call with or anyone to call if they did. Some people have severed relationships with family members: sons, daughters, mothers, fathers. Some people are truly all alone and many of us pass them each day like they’re invisible.
There is something all of us can do to help our homeless neighbors. It’s free yet some find it difficult. We can acknowledge their presence. We can see through the things that make us uncomfortable and perhaps see ourselves in them.
Stay connected with the good work the Mission is doing, and learn more about the people we help.