I walked to lunch today. A welcomed break in the middle of the day in one of my favorite towns. The noon hour buzzing with people, cars, sunshine streaming. It was hot, sweat glistened, and I found myself watching my shadow as I walked. Pony tail bobbing, thinking to myself, “I feel happy today.”
I’m recognizing, more and more, the return of happiness. I welcome it home.
As I turned the corner, I heard a small tinkling of ukulele music. I stopped staring at my shadow and instead looked up. A larger gentleman was sitting on a bench. Wearing ragged clothes, hikers backpack full of belongings next to him, he plucked away at the tiny instrument. A sign sat at his feet that said, “Just traveling on a prayer.” Aren’t we all?
I’ve had many a day I felt that was all that was bringing me through til night. A prayer.
I walked past and went into the sandwich shop chain. I paid eight dollars for my subpar sandwich and tucked the change in my pocket. Exit the restaurant, place sunglasses on head. Pivot back towards work.
I took a few steps and I noticed the music had stopped. I glanced down the block and saw the gentleman had placed the instrument to his side. His head was in his hands, a grubby bandana crumpling over his face, covering his eyes.
I bent down, and set a dollar into his large mug.
“Thanks for your music” I said and started to walk on by.
The gentleman picked up his head and smiled, breathing a sigh of relief.
“You are the first to donate all day. I was beginning to doubt myself. ”
“Nothing to doubt,” I said, “thanks for the gift. Your music is lovely.”
He kept talking and I wished him a good day.
The pony tail in my shadow had found a reason to bounce. I felt a new swing in my step, fueled by feelings of thanks for my gift of seeing.
I’ve been given the gift of seeing – of noticing things others prefer to ignore. It can be a pain and sometimes I want to squash what this spirit in me reveals, to dismiss the urge to lean in to those sitting and playing on street corners. Yet, my gift shows up again and again tugging my heart like an impatient child pulling on a parent’s arm. She tells me to whisper hello, and transfer feelings of hope in the form of eye contact and simple words.
Today I chose to recognize talent, made a connection, shared resources, even if small. My choice was met with acceptance and affirmation. It felt like he really needed my words.
We all want to be seen and appreciated for our talents. Plus, I love the ukulele.
I hope others spared a dollar or two for his beautiful talent.
Where can you improve in seeing others? How can you share your resources? What can you say thank you for?
How can you interact while we all travel on a prayer? Can it be beautiful if we choose to appreciate one another?