Ashes to ashes. From dust to dust; as life is given, it will be taken. Death is inevitable, but life…Life is a choice. Life is never a contained definition. It exists in a manner of certain faith and an undeniable reality. It is like air. One can’t see it. He just has to feel its divine existence. It doesn’t tingle his skin like breeze. It will crawl within him.
This is not a story of beauty and kindness. This isn’t a story sugar coated with nonexistent events that always begin and end with a happily ever-after. No. This story takes place between tall buildings, invisible and forgotten houses, narrow neighborhoods, and a human.
This is reality. There isn’t anything tragic or beautiful about it. There isn’t even anything poetic about it. It just exists, but it always exists somewhere. In this case, it exists in the faith and hands of a human who lives isolated in the middle of a city. He lives in a home that is a little bit short of a house. Its windows are broken, and it occasionally rains inside due to the cracks in the ceiling. His shoes are worn out, and his clothes have been the same two blue jeans and a couple of black shirts for the past few years.
He was a man far from perfect, but what’s the beauty of life without mistakes and imperfections? Life wouldn’t be life then. Sometimes, good deeds cover up the bad ones, and at times, it just erases them all, giving a man a clean beginning. He knew without experiencing this kind of life, he was just another man on this Earth who was pretending to be alive. He’d never thought he’d end up living in a poor neighborhood. He didn’t imagine he’d find his salvation in the lives of others. He didn’t even think their lives mattered anyway. He was a man of business and money. He understood that poor neighborhoods needed to be abolished. He believed in numbers. He convinced himself beauty would never be found within the heart of folks living in areas that barely existed on maps. Now; however, he lives in the middle of such towns.
The last thing he remembers from what he refers to as his “previous life” was the decision of selling all he’s ever owned, even his own business. It truly did happen overnight. Flashes of signing his properties off, the money being distributed to several homes, and the purchase of a small humble home. It wasn’t the death of his father that changed him. He didn’t even care to attend the funeral of an old poor man. It wasn’t his brothers finding love and enjoying life. What did he care about all that? No. It was when one day he was walking around in one of those old neighborhoods and an old woman approached him and offered him shelter and food. She’s thought he was lost in the neighborhood this late at night. He was surprised at the warmth that resonated from her voice once she spoke to him. He didn’t understand. He was spellbound. One thought ran through his mind. How would an old poor woman offer him what she could barely afford to have for herself? What selflessness. He’s had it all, and he never even tried to offer not even a dollar to man in need. He realized at that moment how empty and alone he was. How he believed in no such thing as faith in humanity and life. He felt as if his inner soul had run out of oxygen.
He never gave the old lady an answer. He simply walked away and went straight to his lawyers. Now he feels like he’s breathing again. He’s finally accepted the gift of life. He opened his eyes to the reality and brutality of the lives people go through every day. He decided to give himself the privilege of always giving a homeless man half of his wages each month. He always invites a hungry man for lunch, or a cold person in for a warm drink, dry clothes, and a bed to sleep in. Every morning before he sets off to work he leaves some money for the man to enjoy a meal, or to buy some new clothes for a job interview. He felt whole. He knew his salvation was far from reach, but he knew, this was what life is all about. Lending a hand when a man is in need. Offering shelter to children who were tragically orphaned. Paving a way for a human who has been forgotten by the rest of the world. He was given the chance to make those humans feel the warmth and the breath of life the old lady has shown him. After all, what will anything else mean at all if he didn’t learn to live with and through others?
Life became brutal for him. Every now and then losing a job. Not enough savings to keep every part of the house fixed. Sometimes he went hungry for days, but life never promised him perfection. It promised him a soul to inhabit him. It promised him people. It promised him a hand to help him when he was in need. It promised him a roof over his head. True he was always isolated in this helpless city, but he knew he’d never truly be alone. Faith finally existed in his life-faith in his fellow human. Reality played the brutal role, but he kept going for two simple reasons that this choice in life offered.
Life gave him what money never offered- a smile from the heart. It gave him humanity.