The Gift

This past Friday I was given a wonderful gift by a total stranger. It’s a gift that I will remember and carry with me for a long time to come.

The back story: I do a lot of work with volunteers in my job. I do a lot of organizing, management, scheduling and appreciation of the people who donate their time to my place of work. In fact, without them, this organization would completely crumble – no exaggeration.

On Friday I went out with one of our more active volunteers, an elderly man that I’ve met a few times in passing, but who has a reputation for being very dependable and helpful and just an all around fantastic human being. We drove downtown together to set up a display; afterwards he drove me back to my workplace. To be honest I was a little nervous to be trapped in a car with this man; he is of a different ethnic background and I was worried about offending him if I could understand him through his accent and even putting that aside, I was distracted thinking about the coming weekend with CBG, suffering from end of the week exhaustion and not overly enthusiastic about making small talk with a stranger.

He was pretty good at putting me at ease right away. He asked a lot of leading questions and learned a lot about me. In the course of the hour or so total that we spent together he learned that I was a single mom with two young girls who is too busy and too stressed out much of the time. He learned that my job contract is ending come the end of September and that I’m not sure what the future holds for me after that. We talked about religion a bit (he is a practicing Muslim) and environmental issues. It was one of those conversations that flowed easily from topic to topic. I found myself actually enjoying the conversation despite my earlier hesitation.

He drove me back to my place of work after our errand was taken care of and I thanked him quickly and reached for the door handle. He said, “I’d like to tell you something.”

“Okay.” I felt a little awkward but had no reason not to listen what this man had to say to me.

He said, “Everyone has problems and obstacles that they have to face in life. If you’re going down a road and you come to a huge rock right in your path, you’re not going to just stand there and cry that you don’t know what to do about it. You’re going to just go around the rock and keep going along your way. Well…life is no different.

I was struck in that moment, sitting there with this stranger the truth of that statement. I don’t know what about our conversation or my personality that told him I needed to hear those exact words…but it was precisely what I needed to hear. I tend to be that person who gets so focused on the obstacles in my path that I become paralyzed by them. Instead, I need to see them for what they are – something that I need to just move past and forget about.

As I got out of the car I said, “Thank you. You’re absolutely right. That was exactly what I needed to hear.”

He simply gave me a little knowing smile and a nod.

That small kindness that he showed me, that bit of wisdom that he shared, is something that I won’t soon forget.

Thank you.

12 Responses

  1. When the student is ready, the teacher always appears… 🙂

    Wonderful post.

  2. It really is tough to be a single mother you won’t even consider yourself as a being in times when you see your kids are having hard times you just want to work and work and work to provide for them.

    grants for single mothers

  3. You don;t seem like someone who would have any concerns over “different ethnic background”.Quite surprised to read this ,but then realized at least you were being honest-honesty is truth.

    • I guess I didn’t make myself clear. My only concern was that I would have difficulty communicating because of his heavy accent. I certainly have no issues whatsoever with people of different ethnic backgrounds! 🙂

  4. Stupid pregnancy hormones – this post has me crying!!

  5. I’m not pregnant and it made me teary, too.

    I think I needed to hear this too – thank you for sharing it, Momma Sunshine. 🙂

  6. It is amazing how life will present us what we need in at the most interesting times.

  7. Wow – that’s awesome, and so well put, yet so simple. Sometimes I think we (as in ME! not you specifically!) tend to overcomplicate when stressed or struggling with something and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. Great post.

  8. What a beautiful moment! Gave me chills!

  9. Gotta love it when you have one of those “AH HA” moments, especially if you’re gifted with some special insight by someone else.

    What a cool story!

  10. That was indeed a wonderful gift! I love when that happens.. it makes you feel like even a stranger understands, and can help see some light.

  11. That IS a wonderful gift. We glean wisdom and guidance from so many sources, if only we are willing to receive.

    Thank you for sharing because we all benefit from this man’s wisdom.

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