Exhausted American

Sat in a coffee shop on a day in May that felt more like a raw, dark, blustery November day in Ohio. I immediately noticed a man slumped over his coffee cup yet within a few moments lifting his body up ever so gently eyes still closed in on his wrinkled, red face. Bushy eyebrow bowed offering homage to a difficult life. Layers of clothes on his body, a gray knit hat on his head, and a stuffed backpack at his feet. I suspect either he’d been traveling through the night, or had arrived in a warm coffee shop, a few dollars in his pocket enough to pay for a cup of coffee which failed miserably in keeping him awake. What did he look like as a little boy, I wondered. I remembered riding the COTA bus years ago wondering what the adult riders were like as children—now subdued, going through the motions of riding downtown to work.

The older man’s head meets his fist, a soft fist. Red face, head lifts in this struggle to stay awake or simply dance in this gentle lifting and lowering of his head and torso. How much he looks like Exhausted America right now fatigued by grief, fears, and violence. Quietly placing his head fully on the table, he snores softly.

Coffee with caffeine will not rouse him, this Santa look alike, a doppelganger of Kris Kringle unable to sleep in a bed at night. Too burdened by the frigid air, the harsh winds of indifference to his plight. He is the human in me wanting to sleep for 30 years in a spell cast by fork-tongued liars about who you are, how lost you’ve been, the Witness you became in the wilderness of courage. His sneakers conceal feet that have walked a million miles in loneliness rather than riding in a sleigh or practicing flying the globe in record time. Wrinkled face lifted now as his bowing and gentle rising dance continues. Does his body not know the comfort of complete surrender to the table, the thick flat surface of support? Shoo Bop music plays here in Stauf’s German Village. Time for me to go to work at the Fudge Haus. Celebrating a swap of a mattress in which I am blessed to rest my body at night.

Will I ever live in a world in which everyone gets to safely sleep at night or on a rainy, cold morning?


Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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