The Box Lady
Recently, I saw this sign someone made out of old wood, and it took me deep in thought, to a moment - a story, a good deal of years back....
Seated outside a restaurant one evening enjoying dinner, I kept noticing a worn looking woman pushing grocery carts full of folded boxes. She would pass by again and again, aware of her surroundings, yet focused on her task in her own hurried world. Later, as I headed to my car, I rounded the corner to find a large group of grocery carts, neatly lined up, each stacked high with folded boxes. Out of my mouth stumbled, "Wow that's a lot of boxes." Then I noticed the woman. Her eyes peered out at me through her gray fuzzy hair. We looked at each other, her hooded coat framing her deeply lined face. Then she was back to work, not interested in me, or what I thought of her possessions...
But I couldn't take my eyes off the boxes. They were perfectly stacked in carts that were strategically placed and despite the chaos of the city that surrounded her, orderly. The unkempt woman was obviously on a deadline to set her shelter up as the sun rapidly sank below the buildings.
I realized this must be her routine - wait till evening to construct, when people were less likely to notice, then rise early to take it all down before the hustle and bustle of the city consumed her lodging; before the storeowners would shoo her away from their businesses.
All this work for a place to retreat for one night.
My mind wandered...How does one keep track of that many boxes? Where does she hide them during the day? How quickly does she have to move before someone removes the ones left behind? What if it rains? Does she then start all over looking for new cardboard homes the next day?
Most of us have so much in life, we don't even relate to having very little or nothing at all.
It's easy to forget how much we're blessed with. Often annoyed over having to water, weed, & mow the lawn - forgetting the beauty and privilege of having a lawn in the first place! Frustrated over the tiny abodes we have in a crowded community; always dreaming of a bigger palace. Finally getting a job only to find ourselves complaining of the early hours, who we're working with, the pay, or the simple fact of having to work at all...
We have so much in life, we can't even relate to having very little or nothing at all.
The box lady seemed to have enough for a two-story hut and she had a lot of work ahead of her. But behind her lines and woolly hair I thought I saw something gleaming out from those weary eyes. Maybe she had a few more boxes this time and would be a little warmer. Or perhaps she was simply pleased with herself, having made it to her spot with all those carts full of boxes. She almost seemed thankful for something that most people would consider to be nothing.
Nowadays, most cities have become accustomed to and almost immune to the homeless. People dart the opposite way to avoid having to pass by them; almost irritated even by the idea. Forgetting that are someone's daughter, son, cousin, student, mother, father. Human. Alive. And very much a part of the community.
Each time I notice a box collecting, cart pushing, tattered clothed person, it reminds me how easy it is to forget whats important in Life….to be grateful…... It reminds me that everyday I take another breath, it is a gift.
Life is "Beauty Full" in so many different ways.
I find everyday I live & breathe to be a gift.