I’m an observer. I try to be mindful of my surroundings. I watch people and situations with a curious but discerning eye. People pass us by, all the time, every day. Some in a hurry and some like they have all the time in the world. Some with friendly smiles and others with looks of despair. I’m careful who I speak to most of the time. I’m honestly usually standing to the side or hiding in a corner which makes observing much easier. I have issues with too many people crowding near my breathing space. Occasionally though, someone will catch my attention, and I feel something drawing me to them. Maybe I’ll just say hello or how are you. But sometimes, well there are just times that it is so much more.
Some time back, I went to a nearby mall and inside, I saw a young man sitting on a bench near where a fountain once stood. I could tell he was lost in thought but also a little emotional. I sat down beside him and said “hello”. He just nodded at me and went right back into thought. I wanted to ask him if he was ok, but me being overly cautious or maybe a bit too anxious, just sat there quietly. I continued to simply observe everyone else walking by.
That’s when I heard, “There used to be a fountain here, you know.”.
I looked over and responded, “Yeah I remember. It was nice too, wonder why they took it out.”.
Then he started to cry.
I asked, “Are you ok?“.
He said, “Yes I’m fine, I’m just remembering.”.
“Oh yeah, good memories I hope.”.
He began to tell me all about how he met his wife in that mall and how much she loved the no longer present fountain, so much so that he proposed to her there.
Of course, I said, “Wow what a great story. That’s awesome man. Is she here somewhere shopping?“.
As tears rolled down his cheek, he said, “No. She died a while ago from breast cancer.”.
The shock of that information numbed me for a few seconds. I snapped out of it and said, “I am so sorry. I cannot imagine how painful that must have been.“.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever been through.”.
We talked for a while longer about their life together and all that he had gone through with her dying.
Once we were done with our conversation, I got up to leave. He suddenly stopped me and said “Mister, thank you.”.
“You’re welcome. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I enjoyed talking with you. And it will get better. It will be hard, but it will get better.”.
He said “Thank you for being a light. I’ve not been able to speak to anyone when I come here, but you just sat beside me and it all just came out.”.
“Yeah, people seem to do that with me from time to time. I think maybe it’s a gift.”.
“I’d say you’re right. I think I moved a little closer to being ok today. Thank you.”.
Then he stood up and hugged me right there in the middle of a shopping mall. Two strangers in a moment that brought healing to him and hope to me.
Whatever your gift, call, or purpose in life, follow your heart and be the best you only you can be. Be yourself, whatever that looks like. Be a light to the world around you. You never know when what’s just around the corner could change you or someone else forever.
Photo credit: Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay