Spin Your Story : A Homeless Man’s Gratitude

Spin Your Story guest post by Mika Maddela.

His Entire World...Homeless man and his best friend, Brandy the dog by Beverly & Pack
His Entire World…Homeless man and his best friend, Brandy the dog by Beverly & Pack

A Homeless Man’s Gratitude

As I held the newspaper clipping in my hand, a stranger with long dreadlocks was looking closely over my shoulders. He was so close that I could feel his warm breath on my neck as we stood there in complete shock and dismay.

As we both absorbed the sad news we were reading, my heart went out to Richard, a homeless man who lost his beloved companion. His friend was a black and white American Pit Bull Terrier named “Buddy.” Buddy was gunned down by law enforcement when they tried escorting Richard off the public transit. Things became a little heated and Buddy’s natural instinct to protect his owner came out, costing him his life.

Before you raise your eyebrows and label Richard as homeless man who bred his Pit Bull to attack, just know that was not the case in this situation. Buddy was a good dog.

Only a few weeks ago, I bought dog treats from the Fred Meyer down the street and attached a five dollar bill with a note saying, “Have a beautiful day,” for Richard and his dog.

In the winter months, Richard would dress Buddy in an old jacket he found off the street in order to keep Jack Frost’s bite from penetrating Buddy’s paws and turning him into a furry popsicle. He was the only homeless man I saw on a regular basis who hardly ever harassed or begged people for money. I’ve always wondered how he and Buddy got by.

As for myself, I know I can get really moody when I don’t eat every few hours or so. I cannot fathom what life would be like if I had the constant reminder from my rumbling belly that I may not eat today…again.

And I thought my life was hard.

Many of us are burdened with the stress of our own problems that we often forget to be thankful for what we do have in our lives. Whether you’re struggling to maintain a healthy relationship, trying to find a job that pays for the bare essentials (like food and housing), or wishing you had enough coin to buy that expensive pair of shoes you’ve been coveting for the past month– life could be worse.

Do you have friends and family who truly care for your well-being and want to see you happy? Do you nourish your body with meals that leave you feeling satisfied? Are you munching on your favorite snack as you’re reading this? Do you have a place to call home and a warm bed to get cozy in, as you drift off to sleep at night… perhaps with someone you love?

My intention is not to make you feel bad for what you have in your life. But to remind you that despite what you may be struggling with in life…

… there is always something to be thankful for.

I, like many others, often take life for granted and forget to be grateful for what I do have in my life.

Gratitude is a powerful emotion.

Gratitude helps you aspire towards positivity.

And with positivity, you can immensely increase your chances of achieving anything you want in life.

In the past, Richard and his dog were frequently found on a busy street corner sitting outside a bank. But judging from the blank and pensive look on his face, I could tell as he watched people walk past him– if only he could, he would trade his problems for theirs.

After Buddy’s death, I firmly shook Richard’s hand and looked him in the eye as I offered him my sincerest condolences for his loss. He was shocked at the support and sympathy bestowed upon him by people who hardly gave him the time of day.

Richard looked flabbergasted yet deeply touched by the collection of flowers, dog bones, and posters accumulating on the cold sidewalk.

Where Buddy would often rest his furry head, there were cards and fluorescent green poster boards saying “Goodbye Buddy.” Along with the pile of flowers, there was also a small collection of dog treats, rawhide bones and dog toys that would have made any dog feel like a sultan.

As I glanced at Buddy’s memorial, I saw Richard’s eyes fill with tears of sincere gratitude for the empathy random strangers have shown his beloved friend.

Despite a world filled with turmoil and suffering, it warmed my heart to see another example of kindness, compassion, and precious shared humanity.

What are you grateful for today?

Mika Maddela co-writes for the Path to Passion, a relationship advice blog that focuses on helping people improve their romantic relationships by focusing on their own internal beliefs. Mika and her partner, Clay, teaches couples that the root of successful relationships begin within themselves. Join Mika, as you discover how to nourish your relationship with yourself as well as with the man in your life at The Path to Passion.

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