As in many mornings, today I went out to walk the three-mile stretch I travel daily. I am fascinated at how life presents itself without warning, gathering me into its arms.
Almost one mile into my walk, I approached the Phap Bao Temple. I have never seen anyone at this facility before, this time I noticed a woman walking towards the large goddess statue placed at the front garden; a tall, white concrete structure holding hands in prayer. The woman walked up from behind and bowed her head in reverence also holding her hands in prayer by her chest. She may have noticed that I was approaching on the sidewalk, soon after paying her respects she turned her body towards me. I gently bowed my head and held my hands in prayer, as I know this is a sign of Asian custom. She reciprocated with equal motion.
She walked in my direction so I shifted my position to walk towards her. We smiled at each other and I began to tell her about the mention of the temple in a chapter of my book. Her English was limited, she may not have understood my message and proceeded to invite me to the Sunday service. It was then that I noticed the sun hitting her face making a few tears on her eyes glisten. I smiled, thanked her for the invitation and said: “Can I ask you a question, why are you crying? She looked down and could not contain more tears. Her response was “My son died”; my natural reaction was to weep as well. I then asked when did this happened and she informed me it was just under one year ago, he was only 19 and was killed in a car accident.
I then placed my arms around her petite body without asking for any permission as my intuition moved me to act; she cradled into my shoulder and wept even more. For a moment we just stud there, suspended in time as I felt her pain. What does one say that can possibly soothe a profoundly grieving heart?
Soon after she lifted her head up from my shoulder, looked at me and said “Thank you”. I said “Thank you for sharing your story with me” Once again I bowed my head to her, said “Namaste” and walked away.
There is no measure that can tangibly assess the value of life, but if we look with care and precision, we find life unmasking its beauty right before our eyes, laying its delicate veil lacing us together along the path. It is then our choice to engage in a connection that aligns with our truest purpose.