Kaitaia, New Zealand 2010 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

While sitting on a park bench earlier today, enjoying conversation with a dear friend, a man approached us and sat down for a conversation. The man appeared to be a rough sleeper, his clothes were unclean, his face had cuts on it, and he was in need of a wash.

Amid some ramblings, he asked us what we thought the meaning of life was. We threw out a few answers to carry the dialogue, but he had an answer already prepared. The man then pulled out his smartphone from his coat pocket, pointed to a picture of him holding his baby daughter and said “that’s the meaning of life, when I hold her in my arms”. He told us her first birthday was coming up next week, and he asked our advice on what gift he should get for her. We agreed that his presence might be enough. Although he agreed, I have to assume from what he implied, that his baby’s Mother may not appreciate him turning up empty handed (if at all).

My wife said to me recently that most of us are only one paycheck away from living on the street. She’s not wrong. I thought about the possible circumstances that led this man into his situation – Addiction? Mental health? Redundancy? Perhaps a mixture of all of these.

Every one of us is vulnerable, so we each have to keep going.

I think I will slowly develop Alzheimer’s disease, but at least then everyday will be a brand new day”.

– Man we met today on the street