I have often heard that old saying: “You don’t get something for nothing.” Well for me, this morning, I witnessed the far reaching impact of this quote on our world’s belief system.
The day started out like any other normal day. Mondays is my Waikiki office day. I rise in the pre-dawn darkness for a quick run, a shower, and to scoot to catch the express bus into town. I was tired and sleepy, and not feeling the commute, but off I went. Two and a half hours later (bleh) and here I was in Waikiki, with two hours to go before I even am able to begin my full day of work….it’s gonna be a Loooooong day. Get in line and am doing my thing, and he walks up to stand beside me in line. You know him. That guy. The too-loud-talking, too-close-standing, too-much-cologne-wearing, too-much-EVERYTHING guy.
As he (smiling ear to ear) nonchalantly scoots closer to get a better look at the.....ahem…case of pastries….I politely return a cursory smile, then proceed to scoot myself as far in the opposite direction as the line will allow. Undeterred, Smiley nicely comments on my pretty purple dress and how it matches my nails AND shoes. At first I act as if I do not hear, as I am intently studying the menu…the sizes can be tricky at Starbucks, you know….tall is actually a small, grande isn’t the largest size as you might think, and so on… …really, one must focus…really ;)
When no reaction was received, Smiley steps closer, enshrouding me amid a cloud of cologne that sends my stomach lurching…* or maybe that was the combo of cologne and his hot breath I felt just cross my face * yes, that was definitely a factor… I decide finally that this mister is definitely not going anywhere, and in a moment of shame for my previous “rudeness” and lack of cordiality (my southern mama would chide me to be sure!) I decide that Pono must be practiced! So I turn to him and engage him with a disarming smile and tell him a very sincere thank you, and that is kind of him to say, fully feeling like the paranoid jerk that I must be (Andy, he was just being a nice guy, why are you so uptight, sister?!?!?) And, fully ashamed of myself, I said a quick prayer to help me be more pono today and then followed that with one last friendly smile at the gentlemen, and then the standard, telltale sendoff that is universal to all that the convo is OVER: “You have a nice day!” *and turn the back * Ah. Sigh of relief….well fielded!
But….no. Alas, no. Smiley had to take it that last step…asking (and inching…) if EVERYTHING (wink, wink!) matches. Frozen, I turn slowly just to make sure I have hear right (Surely not!)…and not until I catch his eye…and, elevators go up, elevators go down…and then that eyebrow. Yes, I was right…cad. I send him a withering look that lets him know he will NOT be receiving an answer to his cute little query THIS morning, at least not from this braud! And I turn, feeling very world-weary and drained, and grab my cup of coffee and scurry to the furthest corner I can to enjoy my joe in silence…and solitude!
It had not been five minutes (really, FIVE) until out of the corner of my eye I see a haggard, homeless man staring at me from the window….it was unnerving to say the least. Shifting in my chair, I tried to avoid eye contact. And then, yes, he opens the door to the store, and of all the chairs (all open as it is 5am mind you) he comes and sits right beside me. I take a breath and prepare myself, saying a quick prayer to be gracious when he begs me for something. I am ready for him…I mean, why else would he have set SO CLOSE to me when so many other chairs are open? He does not give me much time to wonder or prepare, as he looks me straight in the eye, and with the smallest whisper, asks if he may sit awhile…assuring me that he doesn’t want to bother me…and that he means no harm, but if he sits here in this corner he will be okay because, “the lady who takes people’s money doesn’t like me too much…because I don’t spend much money here. But I don’t smell bad…I just got me a shower at the beach…I promise…I won’t bother you I swear, miss..”
Good God, the pain I felt in my chest, coupled with the utter self-loathing I felt on my inner heart was overwhelming. I looked into that man’s eyes, (waiting for MY PERMISSION to simply have a seat)…*who am I* to grant this? And I look around sun-(and money) drenched Waikiki, with the wealthy tourists sipping their lattes, and glance down at my own banana and coffee on the table beside me…I am humbled. I look straight into this man’s eyes…and ask him what he would like for breakfast. He looks at me as I looked at smiley….to make sure he heard me right…and yes, he did. Once this initial shock is over, we have another hurdle…the what’s-in-it-for-you questioning glance. I assure him it is free. Twice. And then a third time in a different words. And finally, a fourth time, when he has asked, “Is there something I should know?” I look at him, and stop trying to reassure and just say….”I just had my breakfast, and feel like I’d like you to have some too….I am a selfish little woman, as I do not like to eat alone…humor me please.” And, for me, this kind man did me this favor.
As we sat down to a morning feast…complete with egg sandwiches and a “cup-of-china” he ordered…I marveled at how childlike and excited he looked now as he ate and smiled…and how very long it took me to get him to believe that I wanted nothing but to bless and love on him this morning…and that nothing was needed from him but to receive.
This, the day, after Easter, and whose timing is not lost on me…I was blessed by a stranger, and shown firsthand a glimpse of what God feels for us, and the sadness it must bring Him when we will not just believe He wants to bless us, and let Him, and receive goodness.
This day, I was given the chance to practice resurrection. And while I did not expect anything in return for my kindess, the gratitude received from this man, was beautiful, and only served to double my joy in the giving.
He is risen…and calls me to rise….and uplift~