A true story that will bring a tear to your eyes and reaffirm your belief in boys, men, and life. Thank you, Scott Stewart, for the gift you have given us here and for the gift that is you! (If you love this, you might want to read Scott’s soul interview, too!)
I came home from work one morning, fresh off a 16-hour shift and ready for bed. It was late morning and already on its way to some beautiful weather here in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
I realized that my roommate was off the day before, so I prepared myself for the usual dirty dishes, clothes strewn about and a few beer cans stacked neatly in a pyramid next to the Lazyboy. I see it as my opportunity to practice gratitude and nonjudgment. Being a recovering alcoholic, I certainly recognize all the times I left people’s houses in such a state. ‘Yes God, I remember and thank you for the opportunity to be of service’ is what I say in times of frustration, especially as it relates to this mirror of myself that currently rents my upstairs.
On this particular morning, I’m so tired it wouldn’t matter what the place looks like. I can make it straight to my room and crash even if I have to step over him sleeping on the hallway floor again. I don’t judge, remember? So I walk in, throw my keys on the counter and start my descent when I hear a familiar tiny voice:
“Hey Scott.” My roommate’s 7-year-old son.
“Hey buddy, how have you been? Haven’t seen you in a while. Staying over for a couple days?”
“Yeah, just waiting for Dad to wake up. He’s really tired. Said 10 more minutes.”
It’s 11:00 in the fucking morning and this poor kid has to wait for his alcoholic father to come to so he’s not bored to death! This is not my problem! He’s not my kid! I’ve been working all night and this dick can’t go to bed at a decent hour even when his kid is here. I’m tired, I’m cranky, I want to go to bed and this ain’t my problem.
Negativity, judgment and bad energy are a subtle foe. The more I practice quieting my mind, the more I recognize the ways it creeps into my thinking. But then there are days like this when clearly this kid’s dad is a bum and the kid will just have to keep himself busy until dad rolls out of bed around the crack o’noon. Not my problem!
I’m trying to be a better guy; trying not to judge; trying not to engage in negative energy. Be the change I want to see in this world. But right now I’m tired. This ain’t my problem. I’ll mention the kid and his Dad in my prayer before bed. I’ll apologize for thinking negatively and judgmentally. Amen, good night nurse.
Before I leave the room, I take a deep breath. The thought of “help me do the right thing” crosses my mind. Another deep breath and the thought “a 20-minute catch won’t hurt my sleep time” and it is a beautiful morning.
When I was 2 years old, I came to live here with my mom while my dad fought in Vietnam. The first time I came to stay for the whole summer I was 7. I came every summer after that until I was 12. I bought this place in April of 2009 and found myself at rock bottom, in the fetal position on the kitchen floor two months later.
Three short years later, as I’m heading out back to have a catch with my roommate’s son, I’m telling myself to enjoy this moment for just what it is. Don’t judge anyone, smile and just talk to the kid. Go to bed with no frustration and be grateful for the day. What I was given was so much more.
I have to admit, the thought did cross my mind… “Look at the greatness that is me! Someone should take a picture as I have a catch with this poor orphan boy!” Fortunately I recognize the voice of my ego immediately. I can stop it and just be present with a little kid having a catch. Not thinking anything of his dad, but more important, not thinking anything of myself.
Slowly, what began to happen, what I began to feel, was not only gratitude, but a complete humbling. The miracle that is happening in this moment, in this back yard. How utterly grateful I felt for this instance as it was unfolding not only in front of me, but through me.
Then I saw this young boy not as my roommate’s son but as a gift from God. The memories of my youth. The feeling of being young with a whole summer of fun and friends. All the love this house had provided me. Packaged and wrapped with a bow. Standing all of three feet high and talking about his life and what’s important to him.
And just then it got even better. All I asked for was help not judging his father, but what I felt was so much more. What I received was the feeling of what a gift his father is to me. If he wasn’t exactly who he was, perfect as God made him, I never would have had this experience in this moment.
I felt like a fish that realized for the first time the miracle of water. It’s all around me all the time this miracle of spirit. If I stop to feel it, it is always there. When I do the right thing for the right reason, and ask the right questions, the gift that is the present moment will wash over me.
That was a few weeks ago. I wish I could say my roommate walked around with a golden glow about him. I wish I could say I felt that way about him all the time. Actually, no I don’t. He is perfect just the way he is. So is his son. So am I. When I find myself frustrated, angry or judgmental, I have the memory of that morning. Of the gift that was The Catch.
If you are moved by Scott’s story, please leave a comment for him below. <3 Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships