Friday, April 15, 2011

Thank You Nelson Garzon!


I was walking down 2nd avenue today in New York on my lunch break. These busy streets always have something to observe and today was no different. I came across a man who was panhandling for money, yet this man was definitely in need of some extra care. He had a condition called hemangioma. By definition: Hemangioma a benign self-involuting tumor (swelling or growth) of endothelial cells, the cells that line blood vessels. It usually appears during the first weeks of life and resolves by age 10. I am going to spare you with an image for those who are squeamish, but look it up if you want.

The thing was this man was in his 50's. He was obviously very poor from birth and was never able to get the treatment he needed to heal his condition. He appeared to be from Central America. He spoke very little english, but you can tell by looking in his eyes that he had a very sincere message to share with whom ever crossed his path. When I gave him a few dollars he gave me a card that he had made.

It was titled: Life is an Act of Courage!

And it read:

Feeling life with its suffering is weakness; inspiring life is strength. The flower is the most symbolic visible form of that life is: Beautiful, Fragile, Ephemeral...Enjoy it! We are an instant that disappears in time; there is nothing to hide; and nothing to lose. Life is suffering becuase of its form; It is beauty becuase of its nature; and a mystery becuase of it its miracle. We have a mind so narrow that we evoke with more strength, a more insignificant offense than hundreds of received benefits. Enjoy a boy's smile and console an old person's tears. Ugliness is like the herb, beauty is like the flower, it one dries up the other withers. In essence they are the same thing.

"I Appreciate all the support that you can offer me" - Nelson Garzon

This man was obviously a very evolved spirit. He came to Earth with a condition so "hideous" that he was banished by masses and become a man hidden in the background. Yet, for those who slowed down their fast pace New York lives just for an instant and graced him with their attention they were given the opportunity to find something beautiful. They were given the opportunity to find out that life is a gift. And that no matter what your condition is there can be peace, love, and acceptance. Because I will tell you...when I gave that man some money and he gave me his card we looked each other in the eye...and all I could see was strength, courage, beauty, and a sincere calm. This exchange inspired me and made me feel grateful to be a human being sharing in this experience called life with all those around me.

Just before I walked off he put his fist on his chest and slightly and peacefully pounding his heart to express to me his gratefulness. As I walked half way down the block I teared in the bittersweet realization that I had just witnessed something very beautiful.

I was grateful for being shown an amazing example that life is what you make of it...and no matter how "ugly" things get...they are nonetheless beautiful...nonetheless fragile and ephemeral. He showed me that all is a choice. And it is in this choice that one is given the opportunity to be courageous...just like Nelson.

He was a man full of wisdom...and to me...he was an angel giving a message of love and courage for those who were ready to receive it...so thank you very much Nelson Garzon! You made my life a little bit richer.

25 comments:

  1. I just started going to college in the city and just like you, i was on my lunch break when i saw Nelson. I was heartbroken and touched at the same time. I spared him a couple of dollars and also received the same card. I've been putting up his wise words as my status on fb. I figured that maybe i should inquire more about him and so i found this web page. God Bless you for doing this! Nelson Garzon truly is an inspiration.

    -Tiffany

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  2. I had this near same exact experience today. I walked out of the 53rd & 5th subway station and was aghast at first spotting Nelson. I knew of this condition from having seen another panhandler, though more severely affected, in Lisbon, Portugal in 1999. It was a site I will never forget. I researched the condition when I returned to the US and to this day I still think of that man and the isolation in which he likely lives. Nelson did the same thing when I gave him money: he placed his hand on his chest to signify gratitude and handed me the card with the verbiage above. I was stunned by the beauty of its words and the wisdom I had gained from Nelson in that moment. It was me that was the beneficiary of that exchange.

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  3. same here, corner of 57th and 6th. i wish i could do more for him, loved his card. here's a picture of his card: http://pic.twitter.com/ccsNk9dN

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  4. I just met him when I was in Chinatown in NYC. When the first time I glance on him right away my hand reached my back pocket to get my wallet and ask my girlfriend too if we have a few dollars to spare.I handed to Nelson the money but at the same time he was handing me his card with quotes. When I got home I read the quotes that he made it was very inspiring. So I got curious I google his name and I landed here..

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  5. Oh so many people have the same great feeling after we are all met with Nelson Garzon . What i saw on his face , it was a smile! Yes he needs money to treat his condition , but what he gives you , you can't buy for money ! It is priceless ! This quotes are big inspiration !

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  6. Nelson is a treasure and an inspiration to me - he is so positive and has a gentle soul.

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  7. This entry couldn't have been better written. I experienced the same emotions meeting Nelson today. Today's little exchange reminds us to embrace & cherish life for all that it's worth. Cheers to living and may we always find it in our hearts to be kind to those who are less fortunate!

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  8. I saw him as I was headed home from school and passed him because I didn't have any money in reach.. looked for a dollar in my purse as I was walking down the block and walked back to give it to him. I mean..if you see him, there is no way you can go about your day without it affecting you. I thought he was a veteran at first due to his condition, but I read his card with his beautiful quotes and just had to look him up. Thank you for creating this page.

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  9. Saw him today a block or two away from Union Square... his courage is inspiring. I hope he gets the support he deserves. I would enjoy having a coffee one day with that man.

    Just so you know, there is a website that collects donations to help him. The only hitch is that the website creator has not been able to get into direct contact with Nelson. See: http://teamjosh.blogspot.com/2011/04/nelson-garzon.html and http://www.helpnelson.net/

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  10. I really appreciate all your words. He is a gift og GOD. He is my brother.

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  11. I also saw Nelson today near Bryant Park. I see so many people begging on the streets of NYC every day. It's impossible to help all of them but I had to stop for Nelson.

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  12. I am so touched by Nelson's spirit and his unique soul. I have been seeing him at the same corner on 57th and 6th through out the last two years and as told above it is impossible not to be impacted by him. About two weeks ago I stopped by to say hi and help him out, he reached to his bag and showed me an appointment card with a doctor. He was so happy that he would get an operation on October 4th. I wished him luck and his gratefulness and gentle eyes made me realize once again how beautiful he is. He has a way of staying in your heart and that's his biggest gift to us.

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  13. I was near 44th street between 5th and 6th when I saw Nelson. I stopped by and gave him money and he handed me the same card. I asked him if it hurt, and he said no, but told me that he was getting operation in October. I wished him luck and also got his email address. I was deeply touched by him and his bravery. I will try and email to see him how he is doing before and after surgery.

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  14. I was incredibly touched by his card. No matter how tough things in life get, you should always try and remain positive as it is a journey and no one said it would be easy.

    He greeted me with a smile even though I imagine his days are incredibly hard. Thank you Nelson.

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  15. I too came across Nelson today. During my lunch hour I took a walk because I was upset about the Boston bombings, just a sad situation all around -- an immigrant story that went terribly wrong. Me, an immigrant too, mother of two boys and a Harvard grad .. just made me so sad. What determines how someone's immigrant story ends?

    I encountered Nelson in my peripheral vision (him standing with a sign, quietly) and kept walking. I turned around at the corner and handed him a few dollars, he smiled and handed me the card with all the sayings. He is not begging -- he is providing warmth and enlightenment in a harsh world.

    Thank you Nelson, very grateful to have come across you today. God Bless.

    Joy T.

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  16. I have encountered Nelson now three times. I always stop, help out, shake his hand, and wish him well. I still have his card on my desk from my first meeting with him over three years ago. He is, indeed, a gift, an angel to remind the world of what is the "real stuff" of life. I only wish we could all communicate better with him as I would like to see if all of us who have been touched by Nelson could organize something to achieve more help for him. I do know he lives somewhere in Brooklyn and he has shown me photos of his siblings. Perhaps the next time someone who speaks his language would be near by.

    Randy

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  17. I saw him few times on the street and tried to help him little bit. God bless him and give all the strength he needs. His card is beautiful and touched my heart.

    Subhadeep

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  18. I saw him on 40th and 5th ave today and was very glad to approach him, help him with what I can, and then got this card with wonderful messages in return.

    I admire anyone that is strong and positive. Life is indeed what we make it to be, and anyone can have the most beautiful life if he intends to build one.

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  19. Most Saturdays between 11 - 3 he is at 24th & 6th. He is the most wonderful spirit. He has had several surgeries now - and another one scheduled for February. The surgeries are really working! He is BEAMING! I know he has no family in NYC - wish I could afford to send him to Columbia to be with his family for the holidays.

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  20. Just saw Nelson and tried to help out. God bless his soul!

    Luis S.

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  21. Saw him today between 23 and 24 on 6th.

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  22. Hello. I also saw him today and was touched by his gratitude and kind spirit. I wondered how much the cards he gives out must have cost him to print and it made me realize he is spreading positivity with the quotes and bringing awareness to his condition. I wish I could have been able to give him more. I think what he gave me affected me on a greater level than the small change I gave him. He is an old wise soul and I am truly grateful I came in contact with him.

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  23. I too saw Nelson on Lexington Ave and read his card. I'm not surprised his beautiful words have encouraged many. I will continue to pray for him as he helped me to appreciate all that I have. In spite of the issues I face they pale in comparison to my brother Nelson Garzon. He's a special person regardless of his physical condition. May YAHUWAH through his Son YAHUWSHUWA continue to keep Nelson and provide for all his needs. There's a promise in the scriptures that all who receive salvation have a new body undefiled and incorruptible (1 Peter 1:4). These mortal bodies are temporary (1 Corinthians 15:53) for all that believe in YAHUWSHUWA who died for our sins.
    Shaluwm.

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  24. Is Nelson still in New York? Has anyone seen or spoken to him? I met him years ago. We helped bring him to the U S. He had several surgeries here in Orlando under the care of Dr. Richard Gregory of Celebration. We flew him back to South America as the holidays were approaching and we thought he would want to spend that time with his family. This was well over 11 years ago maybe more. This was all done with the help of a producer at "En Rojo Vivo" television show. I always wondered what had become of him.

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