A Stranger's Gift

A Stranger's Gift

There was one day when I had to travel for business, and I made myself a promise to keep my heart open for the entire day to see what the world would bring.  I remember saying those words to myself before I started my travel day, “keep your heart open”.

When I travel, I keep to myself, and I don’t usually pay much attention to others around me. This day was no different. I made my way to the airport, cleared security, and headed down the escalator to the train. 

Then I noticed an older woman making her way toward me as the train approached the platform. It was weird. I remember thinking that maybe she thought she knew me because she was pushing her way through the crowd to stand next to me. I didn’t know her; she was a stranger. We both boarded the train at the same time, and I headed to my usual spot toward the back of the last car.  She followed me and stood right next to me, almost shoulder to shoulder.  I remember thinking, “Geez, roll back honey, there’s a lot of room on this train, please don’t stand so close to me.” I could feel her presence without even looking at her. 

A few minutes passed and we had still not made eye contact.  Finally, she spoke.  She asked me how my day was going.  “Good, how are you doing today?”, I said.  She was visibly excited and said she was having a great day because she was going to see her daughter who she had not spoken to in many years.  “We let anger build up and it destroyed our relationship”, she said.  She went on to explain that her daughter called her out of the blue and apologized for past hurts and asked her to join them for a special birthday celebration.  She was so happy.

Then she touched my arm, looked me directly in the eye, and said “Don’t let anger build up. Don’t let it take the joy from your life. Forgive others and forgive yourself.”  Her words brought tears to my eyes.  How did she know I was angry?  How did she know to say those things to me?  I was stunned and didn’t know how to respond, but I smiled at her and thanked her for her kind words.  She didn’t know it, but those were the exact words I needed to hear on that day. I thought back to my morning promise to myself to “keep my heart open” as tears rolled down my cheek.   

Just then, the train arrived at the terminal and I had to get off.  I remember looking back at her once I was off the train and she was smiling and waving to me as if we had been life-long friends. She was like a little kid who couldn’t contain her excitement.  I smiled, waved back to her, wiped my tears, and headed on my way. 

Wow.  That was so cool. I thought about that stranger all day. I think about her even now, many years later. I don’t know her name, but I can still see her face. “Don’t let anger build up. Don’t let it take the joy from your life. Forgive others and forgive yourself”.

What a beautiful gift.  It was an important lesson for me on that day.  I had let anger consume me, and I had gotten out of balance, but and with the help of a total stranger, I was quickly brought back to center. 

Thank you.  Thank you for being my angel. 

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