Subject: the gift
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 07:44:56 -0700
He stood out in the rain, in the night, under the street light: hat in hand looking toward the heavens. Waiting. Expectant. Patient.
I looked down from my 3rd story window and watched him wait, wondering about the who, what, where and why of it all. I went back to the couch returning to my book, but it gave me no pleasure. I was bewitched by this sight of a man in the rain waiting for something.
I went down the stairs to the street and out to the light where the man was standing and took my place beside him. We both stood there wordless, looking skyward. I took his silence to be his preference and I had the presence of mind not to push my words on him. I shifted my gaze to his face.
What I saw enraptured me.
I'd guess he was about 60 something. He had the most beatific expression etched into his face, an expression born from wisdom and kindness. A living testament to something lost, yet sorely needed. I could see that he was cold so I tapped his shoulder and motioned him to follow me.
Upstairs I served him hot tea, leftover beef stew and a piece of blueberry pie that I had made the day before. I sat with him, watching him eat. His table manners were impeccable, unhurried and precise; even though he must have been starving. Noble lineage,this man.
After his meal he got up, made a deep gesture in my direction, found his hat and headed for the door. As he was leaving I couldn't help myself for breaking the silence. "What were you waiting for?" I asked. He turned, bent down, looking me straight in the eyes, smiling ,and spoke. "You" he said. With that he was gone.
I realized at that moment I was given so much more than I had given him.
He had given me my faith back.
where is compassion born? in the heart? in instinct? in an unplanned moment? who is the ultimate recipient of our compassionate actions? what moves us to reach out to a stranger without cause or reason? what is this human glue that binds to bring us full circle and face ourselves in the dark in the rain under the light?
He stood out.