Saturday, March 29, 2014
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels/messengers unaware."*
My wallet is gone this afternoon. Several credit cards, vehicle registration, insurance and health cards with it. Where did I last use it? I had it this morning. A frantic search of house, car, coffee shop, plus a call to the police confirms the loss. With visions of someone having a splendid time spending my credit, I cancel the cards.
Supper is a down cast affair. A knock comes to the rarely used front door which tells me it’s a stranger. Opening the door an older women with the broadest smile and missing several teeth burst into the vestibule. “Augusta”? she queries. I nod. "I have good news for you." She gleefully holds out the wallet. Excitedly, I keep thanking her. She assures me everything is there.
Her name is Lilly. Apparently, she saw several teens pick up the wallet from the sidewalk and start rifling through it. She told them her aunt lost the wallet so they gave it to her. Then she spent part of the day searching me out as my new street address was not on my licence. Watching her tell the story, she appears work-worn rather than old. I wonder if she had to think twice about returning money. Her bills may be more pressing than mine
She certainly seems as thrilled as I. We take each others hands, and instantly move to a hug. As we step away our eyes are moist. She virtually glows. Joy, relief, and love flood the vestibule. I give her half the money in the wallet. We hug again, and she is gone. My friend, who observes our encounter reflects, “I think I've seen her picking the plastic bottles out of the garbage around town.”
Several days later: I still feel warmth from this messenger of honesty, integrity, and goodness. I think people do glow when doing lovely acts. This encounter was not about credit cards, licence or money. I am still feeling her caring, her spirit. Yet what is disturbing is -- if she had come to the door for anything else would I have even been friendly? I also wonder how many times I passed her on the street, making split-second social judgements, staining my spirit.
** written several years ago
*** image resource: painting by Raffael, commonswikimedia.org