If you have love and wisdom to give, you are rich.
It was the end of long day, my last class having ended, and I was rushing to the subway station to catch the 5:30pm train back to Lowell. I saw a woman at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street selling flowers. She was an elderly woman, probably in her late 50’s, clutching in her hands a bunch of purple and white carnation flowers. With a sad look on her face, she approached me and mumbled a line she must have been mumbling over and over throughout the day to the people passing by. Though I didn’t have much time, I felt the need to stop.
So I stopped.
The woman tried to sell me her flowers but not having any cash, I offered to get her something to eat instead. Eagerly, she said yes and so with my one arm around her shoulder and my other hand pulling her suitcase, we walked down to the Dunkin Donuts right across my school.
“What is your name?” I asked.
“Anna,” she replied.
Anna went on mumbling about how she really wanted to visit her sister for Thanksgiving and some other things I couldn’t quite catch. After getting her two cinnamon bagels and a small cup of expresso, she handed me two of her carnation flowers as a thank you.
My heart was soaring. It was such a simple exchange but walking out Dunkin Donuts with the two flowers in my hand, I felt as though I had just received the most beautiful gift ever.
I was back to where I had started, walking down Massachusetts Avenue. I saw another woman sitting on the sidewalk in front of the Tedeschi’s convenience store. I’ve passed by her a lot before and I always see her singing or animatedly engaging in conversation with passing college students or fellow homeless people. I stopped and handed her my two flowers without really thinking much about it. She gave me a big smile. I smiled back and was about to go on my way but she called me back.
“This is for you,” she said as she handed me one of the flowers I gave her.
Moved by her gesture, I bent down to give her a hug. She stood up, gave me a big hug back and we began talking. She told me her name was Salene.
Salene…Anna…I repeated in my head so I wouldn’t forget.
“My name’s Jireh, as in Jehovah Jireh.”
“Oh, I know Jehovah Jireh!” she responded enthusiastically. “I love that name.”
She then spoke about the things that were happening in the world like the Paris attacks, ISIS terrorism, hate, and fear — she concluded with these words:
“Love. We gotta love each other. That’s the purpose of our life on earth. I’ve lived 48 years now. I know what I’m talking about.”
Indeed. What a powerful thing love is and I was just experiencing that with a stranger and it felt magical! When another human being touches your soul, that moment stands out in the timeline of your life on earth. Such a simple interaction and yet I felt connected to the rest of humanity again. It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine of daily life that we forget the “why”. Why am I here? What is my purpose? How easy it is to live in our own little bubbles, forget to think beyond ourselves, and focus our minds worrying about our own worries.
And then moments like these happen and I am reminded once again what truly matters.
Written on November 16, 2015