This time, I got his name.
Matt walked towards me with a limp as I waited for him to pump my gas. It was like we never missed a beat and just picked up where we left off the last time I saw him at this gas station.
“You know, the biggest change for me this past year has been my attitude.”
He tells me this as he unscrews, then places my gas cap on top of the fuel pump. Pausing for a moment, he looks me in the eyes and proceeds to tell me..
“People can say things about me however they want and it just doesn’t get to me anymore. They can call me retarded or whatever. They can say what they want.” he continued.
It was a surreal moment as I sat there trying so hard to not bat an eye at what he just said. On one hand, my heart broke into a thousand pieces that anyone would ever say that to him. But on the other hand, maybe it was how he said it, so matter of fact.
Any sign of bitterness could not be seen for miles, if at all. It was like what he was actually saying was..
“I’m okay with me despite of what others might think of me.”
I was moved at his resolve.
Matt recently moved into his first house. A house made available due to having this job at Chevron for the past year now.
As Matt looks up, two more cars pull up to both pumps across and behind me.
“It’s a job and I’m grateful.” He says about working at the gas station as he again looks directly at me. “When I got this job, I was homeless.” he continued.
You can always tell a lot about someone by the demeanor of their eyes. This reminds me of a thought I had once..
“Doctor’s look at the tongue to determine sickness of the body. We should look at the heaviness of one’s eyes for the sickness of ones heart. When one’s eyes are soft, freedom abounds. When one’s eyes are not, say something. You might be the only lifeline they got.”
With Matt, his eyes seemed to have the demeanor of one who is no longer resigned to a posture of “I guess this is all my life is going to be.” Rather instead, his demeanor carried the posture of one resolved that “from here on out, this is how my life is going to be.”
This challenges me. Which posture do I carry? What do my eyes tell the world?
I could have just stood there all day with Matt. Transformation has a way of casting a sense of awe upon those who dare look for it. Ironically, its not always that you might see transformation with your eyes. But rather instead, your heart.
Regardless of how you see it, what does one do when they are actually confronted with it.. transformation, that is? For I am sure there are signs of transformation all around us, but do we see it?
What does transformation look like anyway? I mean, has any one of us ever even seen it when it occurs? You know, that very moment, the very second it happens.
It’s kind of like the old question that if a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it?
Perhaps for Matt, it happened the very moment he got that chance. Or maybe that one time someone actually stopped, noticed him, and said a kind word to him in a way that screamed out to his very core..
“You are a good man. You matter.”
I believe we can all take part in the transformation of others. That is, if we dare notice.. them, that is. Then again, its hard to be this when all we ever notice.. is ourselves.
“I wonder how much beauty there is around us every day that we are too distracted to notice.” – M.Craig Barnes
Read Part One: People Matter