Monday, November 7, 2011


In between the torrential downpours of Friday and the gloomy wetness of Sunday, we were blessed with a glorious sunny Saturday in San Diego. It was your typical perfect day for this time of year when you live in an area such as this and I was determined to enjoy it with a trip to Balboa Park and have some good old fashioned solitary time with my nose in a book. This is my idea of the perfect afternoon. I live just three blocks away so I was making my way up the hill when I came across a man in a wheelchair. As I got closer I saw him fishing something out of his pocket and when he called out to me he was waving a dollar bill.

"Excuse me miss, would you mind pushing me up the hill? I'll give you a dollar?"

Mark was in a wheelchair because he had broken both of his legs and they were sticking out straight in front of him in two casts. From the looks of it, it also seemed as if he spent the majority of his time on the streets. I assured Mark that I didn't need the dollar because he was actually helping me out. I hadn't done a workout for the day, and some good resistance training seemed like a pretty awesome workout to me. It was a win, win. He laughed loudly at this, but continued to offer his dollar as a thank you.

By the time we reached the top of the hill Mark began to talk. And talk. And talk some more. We covered everything from the precious time he spent with his Dad fishing, to his time in the war, to how he volunteers at the Veteran's Center talking with soldiers dealing with PTSD, to his buddy Jim, to his tattoos and what they all mean (as well as up close views once he wiggled his shirt off), to Fort Bragg, to his childhood, and everything in between. Sometimes he laughed loudly and other times he'd cry unexpectedly, but more than anything he just kept talking.

Not all of it made sense but I don't necessarily blame that on Mark's inability to always form coherent thoughts, as much as I think it was him trying to get it all out. His stories. His life. Him. In the middle of the conversation he stopped and said, "you know what I like the most? You just standing here talking to me. Us just being able to talk. Nobody really does that." But before I could respond he was telling me another story.

I am not the chit chat with strangers type. Anybody that knows me will tell you that. I hate small talk and I avoid awkward conversations as much as possible. But there I was an hour later still listening to the same stories be re-told because I realized it made someone else happy to be able to share his stories with me. When it was time for me to finally get going I asked if there was anything he would like me to remember to pray about for him and all he said was, "No, I'm ok. Just pray for the soldiers coming home."

This has nothing to do with anything except that sometimes the encounters that don't seem like anything seem to leave the biggest impression and teach you the most valuable lessons. Of course I prayed for Mark, but I also prayed that I could learn to be more like him in a lot of ways.


Brittany said...

Loved this story!

Anonymous said...

Loved it even more because I DO know you. Mom.

jasmine* said...

I'm crying. You're such a great friend. I'm blessed to call you my bestest.

Brianna said...

of course. three of the closest people in my life "get this" blog, probably more than most. :) love you guys.

Anonymous said...

yes, it meant alot because we know you - looking at the taking the time to chit chat with a stranger, but beyond that, knowing you or not, it was a beautiful thing what you did and I wish more folks could look around themselves and see the need in front of them. There are so many folks out there that don't get a smile, or a touch, or a conversation to make them feel like they matter, and they DO matter, it could be us in that situation. The time you spent validating him as a human being was worth more than pushing him up the hill. I bet if we took the time and looked around, we'd see more people in need of something that wouldn't cost us much to give (of course it would help if someone was waving a red flag - or money, to get our attention, sad to say - but true).

Christine said...

Sometimes it's the little things in life that make all the difference, but it so easy to forget!

BriannaGlennHaters facebook page said...

"of course. three of the closest people in my life "get this" blog, probably more than most. :)"


- but we will add a few more as 1,000 never is quite is enough...

It's all about me mentality. I deserve this, I did this, I think this, I did, I did, I did, I did, I did, I did, I did, My My My My My My My My My, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want I want I want, I want, I deserve, I deserve, I deserve, I deserve, I deserve.

Just to let you know, your shit does stink!

Sure, it's your blog and should be about your life, granted. But, you live your life without regard for others. It's about you taking your time for "Mark" as a lesser human being to you. We are VOMITING our lunch to your arrogance!

Never have you ever dropped to your knees and said thank you to someone larger than you? Why is this? God doesn't count. w*nk!

Who is the arrogant ass in your life who has taught you this?

This is why you have a Facebook Hater page (fyi).

Bianca said...

I loved this blog. All the way from Greece.

Janell said...

Very cool encounter. Sometimes a lot of these Vets have witnessed and lived through things that we only read about in history books. You never know whose life you will impact just by doing something so simple as speaking.

Anonymous said...

Very touching. You made a difference in his life that day. I'm sure the Lord was smiling too.

Marcus said...

Nice blog Bri. But do you really have a BriannaGlennHaters facebook page??? lmfao

I think if I had such a page I couldn't help but be arrogant. I mean, I'm obviously THAT important if people take the time to read ALL of my blogs, comment on them, and create a Facebook page just to hate on me. Of course the group probably only has one member so don't get too big a head from it.

Pretty hilarious, though somewhat stalkerish.

Anonymous said...

No, you're not THAT important as you are only known because you've gotten a link to T&FN. I follow the sport and can't think of anything that you've done that was significant, for if you did I would know about it.