December came in bright and full of gusty wind today. After all the rain last night it was nice to see the sunshine this morning, but oh the wind. I think they said on the radio that it was gusting up to 60kph. Not a day for a ride on the bikes that is for sure.
We spent the morning snugly tucked inside the house writing and doing other cozy things but the sunshine beckoned us outside this afternoon. So, after lunch, we donned our warm coats and hiking boots and hit the bike trail for a walk instead of a ride. Clear blue skies shone overhead while the wind blew ferociously at ground level. We only did one section of the trail, but that was enough on this cold day. We stopped at the turn around point for a steaming cup of coffee and fresh cinnamon bun before heading home again. MMMM, both were yummy.
My spirits were lifted by the sunshine and I was totally enjoying the walk. Not too many people were out on the trail, but we did meet one old gentleman walking his dog, and we exchanged cheery hellos as we passed. That is the etiquette on the trail, to acknowledge each other in some way and keep on going.
At one section on the trail we come close to a local high school and depending on the time of day, we might meet quite a few kids walking home. I always try to greet them too, even though they seem wrapped up in their own worlds and lots of them don’t answer back at all. I try to make the effort to connect with them and let them know that I see them and they are worth a hello. You never know who needs a smile and a little acknowledgement. So I try to make eye contact and say something.
Today, when we were almost at the end of the trail we walked towards three young boys who looked about 12 or 13 years old. I don’t think there were old enough to be in high school, but they might have been. They were rough housing and pushing each other around, but seemed to be doing it good-naturedly. As we got closer to them I heard one of them say “Oh look, a dead bird.” He picked up a stick and started pushing it off the walking path. He was still pushing it to one side when we came up to them. I smiled and said “Yukky huh? “ The boy with the stick didn’t say anything; he was too engrossed in his activity. I heard the second boy say “Yah.” But it was the third boy who got my attention. He looked right at me with a cold look of distain or hatred and in an ugly insolent tone made some smart remark about liking it and wanting to eat it. It all happened in an instant, but his look hit my spirit like a bucket of cold water thrown in my face and really shook me to my core. We kept walking at our brisk pace and passed them quickly, but as I passed I heard him say something about “a cupcake”. I don't know if this was directed at me or not. I didn’t look around or respond to him in any way, but the look in his eyes hangs over me like a dark cloud even now. I can’t quite describe it, but I think what I saw in his eyes was pure hatred. What would make a young boy like that so angry and full of hatred towards a stranger who just greeted him along a walking path?
AC and I were walking together and he is big and tall, with an air of authority about him, but that didn’t deter this kid at all. He looked right past AC and directed his anger or hatred at me. I am sure that if I had been walking the path alone, the kid could have quite easily and happily done me harm.
The look this kid gave me frightened me at first, and then the insolent tone of the remark made me angry but now I feel just plain sad. He is just a kid, but is so full of hate and anger that it oozed out of him and touched me in a profound way on this bright sunshine filled day.
If I saw and felt all this in just a split second as I walked past him, what in the world does his mother see every day? How do his teacher’s fair? How about his siblings and his friends? I hurt for this kid and his family and will keep them in my thoughts and prayers. I must have encountered him on the path for some reason today. God help him!
God help us all to care and make a difference in some hurting person’s life today even if it is just to make eye contact and say hello.