Thursday, March 11, 2010

I turned back


On the way to Paragon yesterday, I noticed a woman sitting on the sidewalk, crying.  (The photo I’ve included provides a pretty close approximation.)

Although I would like to be the kind of person that offers emotional support in a situation like this, all sorts of doubts tend to get in the way.  What if her problem is so big that you can’t do anything to help?  What if she just wants money and who knows for what?  What if she’s hopelessly depressed and any goodwill or positive energy would just get thrown down a bottomless bit of despair?  What if she’ll get angry at my presumption that she needs anything from me?

I walked past her.

Before I got to the revolving doors of my building, a question popped into my head.

Is this how you want your day to go?”

It turns out that it wasn’t.  What was the worst thing that could happen, anyway?  Maybe she would just need someone to talk to and I could definitely help with that.  I turned around and walked back toward her. 

As I approached, doubt began to settle in again.  Not knowing what else to say, I interrupted her with a self-conscious “I know this is a stupid question… but are you okay?”

She looked up at me.  “That’s not a stupid question at all.”  I was immediately taken by how generous her response was.  She motioned to the sky with her eyes and added “I’m okay.  I’m praying to my heavenly father.”

Without thinking, I held my hand to my heart.  I stood there for a few seconds until the words “I wish you well” unexpectedly wafted up through me and into the air.  She smiled at me weakly through her tears and again, I was taken by how considerate she was, even through her pain.

I’m glad I turned back.

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