the waving man


We are now a one car family and so I don't typically drive Daniel to school anymore the way I used to. Today was unique in that I had to drive Daniel to school. Well, actually, I didn't have to, but I did it in order to let Bryan sleep a few extra minutes. He came to bed sometime closer to morning than night due to working downstairs in his studio. Trading off kindness is something that I think has made our marriage so strong. We see a need in the other and rise to the occasion without the need for recognition or praise, or return. My act this morning was simply in kind to him letting me nap through dinner last night.

Anyway, fat on sleep, and feeling fine, I did the normal morning routine sans Bryan and so, took Daniel to school.

A few blocks away from the high school where traffic funnels into two directions and is the only access to the school stands this man. I have seen him many times before and thought about him a lot. Focused on getting Daniel to school while deep in discussion about the topic he is introducing at Life Club(a club he started at his school last year that allows kids to just talk about stuff) we whizz right by the man without a thought. The business of life makes you miss things all the time.

Dropping Daniel off, saying our goodbye and have-a-good-day, I head back towards home via the same route I came. The stream of traffic is long and slow. This can have an effect on one's attitude for good or ill, and today It felt good to go slow and be reflective so I didn't mind the traffic. Along the way I see the man.

He is a tall, african american man in his late thirties. Judging by the expression that is always on his face, he was born with an IQ that falls short of society's acceptable standards. His behavior also reveals that he is different. He stands on the street and waves. He waves at the cars that go by. He stands out there for hours waving. He stands in the same place, which seems to be just outside the house in which he lives. He stands there in the fall and when it snows. He even stands there in the rain. Always waving. The first few times I saw him I thought he was selling firewood. Then after seeing him a hundred times I decided, he just likes to wave.

Today I noticed that the traffic was going slow enough that people had time to see him. About three cars ahead of me I noticed something. I saw the driver wave back at the man. Two cars ahead of me, same thing. One car ahead of mine, the woman waved.

I waved.

The waving man keeps waving and waving. To him it is a constant thing, and I don't know if it really effects him if he sees others waving back because it doesn't show on his face.

But it felt good to wave.

Like waving was some great act of kindness or at the very least an act of tolerance. I have seen him so many times before that I can gauge my character at that moment by the waving man and my reaction to him. I don't always wave. Sometimes I whizz by in a rush with thoughts about all the "important" things I have to do-and why is he out there anyway-he must be stupid, running through my head. Nice.

And then I am forced to react at my own internal behavior, reflect and adjust (or wallow in stress induced-rebellion of a positive attitude). Some days I think about the man and ponder why he waves. Some days I fly right by like so many others, knowing he is there but not wanting to be bothered.

Today I waved.

There are probably several people in my life who have done some important thing or another for me or on my behalf or whatever and all are lost from my memory now. In contrast I will always remember the waving man. Maybe it is only the repitition, but profound things can be simple too. Was God's divine assignment for this man to wave? Of all the things that our society would hope for a man, accomplishment, success, or at the very least a clean shirt, this man gets to wave. But there is something in his wave that challenges the constant drone of the daily demands that we place on ourselves. Does the uniqueness of that act alone make it some sort of cosmic conduit that connects us to God because we are forced to reflect? Like a life preserver thrown out in a sea of hurry-stress-ambition-and-guilt to allow us to grab hold of a moment that is peaceful, the waving man waves. I think it is interesting that every time I see the waving man I think of Jesus.

And sometimes I wave back.


Funny how we can both experience the waving man so differently.

When you were doing the morning drive last year, I only saw him once a week in Fridays when I drove. Now I get to see him every day (except when you let me sleep in...thanks!) Funny how my attitude toward him has changed as I encounter him can't ignore him or the wave.

Last year, my thoughts were things like "how sad" or "don't wave back, it will only encourage him". I'm now ashamed about those thoughts. Not because of what you wrote, but because I've been learning to appreciate and welcome his presence...and the wave.

Sometimes I wave back now too. For me, I guess it's to say thanks for waving at me. If that's all he can do, all he can comprehend (if he comprehends much of anything), or the one thing that gives him joy...I want to encourage him. That's the least I can do for another of God's creations.

Today was cool. The timing was such that as Daniel and I drove by the location the waving man was walking from the house to the road. He was only halfway up the drive...but already waving.

To the man I adore,

I have to wonder if we can have such a different experience of the waving man after knowing each other for 21 years (happy anniversary first date!!) then how many others that drive by have each unique experiences of their own?

Have a great day my love.

This post and the comments were a gift to me, at the start of a Monday when I did not want to get out of bed. Thanks for the interaction, the uniqueness of both your hearts, and the love that I got a taste of. Makes me want to call my husband and tell him I love him.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Blair published on September 23, 2004 9:46 AM.

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