The other day I was having a rough day. Really rough. I decided to step outside to get some fresh air…and some chocolate. I walked down to the corner store, breathing in the fresh air. At the store I bought a Kit-Kat & some Gummi Bears. They may not cure what ails ya but they sure do offer some temp relief.
As I walked out of the store there was an older Black woman in front of the store asking for spare change.
I looked at her face. She was beautiful…despite the fact that she had no teeth. There was something about her that just pulled at my heart. She seemed so joyful despite her circumstance.
I stopped, smiled & said, “Hello Love” & opened my wallet. I had a couple of singles, two 5’s, a 10 & two 20-dollar bills. Normally if I give money in these situations, I give however many single dollar bills I have. I grabbed the two 20’s, folded them up & tucked them into her hand. “Here you are, my love”.
She looked down at her hand & then back up at me & then tried to shove the money back in my hands. “No, no, no” she said. I pushed her hand away, “Please. Take it. I want you to have it”.
She reached out to give me a hug. She pulled me in & kissed my cheek, her cheek touched mine. Hers was the softest I’ve ever felt.
She held me close. Tightly…as if she knew. I suddenly started to cry. She whispered into my ear, “We’re going to be ok.” I started to cry harder. She kept holding on, “Don’t worry. I’ve got you. God’s got you. We’ve got each other. We’re going to be ok. It’s going to be ok. We are strong, sister”. I sobbed harder. She held me tighter.
We finally unwrapped ourselves from each others embrace. I tried to pull myself together on the busy street corner, embarrassed by my own public unraveling. I couldn’t quite find any words; I was at that vulnerable place where if you try to speak you’ll just cry more. So I just smiled weakly & turned to walk away.
She held up her tightly closed fist which still had the folded money & pumped her fist a bit in the air as if to say, “Thank you”.
As I walked the next few steps, I looked over my shoulder at her. She was watching me. I’d walk a few yards & turn to look back at her. Each time I turned, I blew her a kiss & she took her fist & patted it against her heart. We did this about 5 times until the distance caused us to lose sight of each other.
How could it be that what started out as ME thinking that I was helping HER, was in fact the exact opposite?
As Tracy Chapman sings, “I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people leading ordinary lives filled with love, compassion, forgiveness and sacrifice”
I feel like I know what she means.
Somehow this woman, who clearly was in need to healing & care, sensed that I needed the same. I don’t know how she knew. But she knew.
And she left me better than she found me.
Let her be an inspiration to us all, my beauties. xo lulu