• Rae Williams

New York: The Humbling Experience


Today has been an emotional today. I write this while crying for the second time today, after praying for a homeless man who stands despairingly eating peanuts and drinking a coke on the train. Who knows if this is his first meal today, or in days? I feel silly for crying earlier about how this trip to Ghana in March has me penny pinching, and how school is stressing me beyond reason because of MY lack of care for it. My heart aches for this man right now, who is likely riding the subway simply to remain warm as the weather has dropped dramatically in the last few days. I don’t know his pain, his story or what life circumstances have led him here. Wearing clothes that have a stench I can smell from about 20 feet away with dirt stains and watching him cherish this bag of peanuts and coke with trembling hands. It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem right. Where is his family? Friends? Anyone? And yet here I was today feeling alone because this guy I liked hasn’t responded to my texts, overall just feeling sad for some of what seems like my failed attempts at success in endeavors. And making the decision not to talk to anyone about it because I hate burdening people when I’m stressed out because I don’t like admitting I don’t have it altogether...all the while knowing that my family is simply a call or bus ride away if I need them and I have friends who care about me here in the city. That was MY choice. It’s 9:22 pm. The man just limped off the train at Clark Street, God I pray for this man. I can’t imagine how he feels, but I pray God sends him comfort, warmth, peace, food and covering. And the many others that are homeless this winter. It hits me suddenly,why I have become so emotional about this man. He reminds me of my grandfather, on my mother’s side. Grand Daddy Marshall. Similar skin complexions, hair texture and size. Both of my grand fathers have passed now, but it hurts to think that could have been my grandad. Or someone’s grand dad. I cried tears that were surprisingly hot enough not to freeze the entire 8 minute walk home. Home. An apartment that’s heated, has food in it waiting for me and even though I had to pack all of my clothing into bags for a reported bed bug issue in my building...still, clean clothes. Something this man doesn’t have. New York is one of those places to quickly remind you to be grateful for what you have, and to humble you if you ever need a reminder. This doesn’t minimize my feelings, I’m entitled to feel stressed, emotional, tired...whatever; as we are all human. But it certainly puts things into perspective  


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