“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
The other day, I watched as an elderly man stood embarrassed at the checkout line.
He fumbled frantically through his pockets and coin purse, looking for just the right amount of change to complete his order. Nickels, dimes, and pennies…all strewn out in front of him as he watched hopefully for the cashier to tally up the total.
“Is it enough?” he asked, as worry slipped the smile from his eyes.
“My wife, you know…she usually handles these things,” he said, as he turned to apologize to all those standing behind him in line.
But, these patrons, they seemed so very ‘unmoved’—as they ‘harumphed’ in such an impatient display. Even now, as I look back and typing these words—I wonder…what was really so very much more important that day?
“I’m sorry, sir…” the cashier replied, “there’s just not enough.”
And, as he hung his head low…looking down at this bag, I could feel this man’s hope slipping away. Even from this distance, I knew what it was he was thinking, as I had been there just recently myself…to want, hope, and need those things which are so seemingly simple…yet, still, a full arm’s reach away.
I thought back to the stacks of bills waiting for me at my house—as I wondered will I ever have ‘enough’ to pay. And, though, I have certainly faced my share of challenges along this road—I don’t believe I have ever felt this, ‘so very much’ alone.
In life, we often worry about not having enough—enough time, enough patience, enough life, and enough love. And in some cases, ‘enough’ can pull us down a deep well.
It was then that I realized, in looking back at this man—that ‘enough’ shouldn’t ever make anyone feel just this way.
“How much do you need?” I offered in my cheeriest of voice. And as I nudged my way through and past each of those furrowing brows—I couldn’t help but to notice just how quickly those ‘harumphers’ looked the other way.
“You know, my wife…” he started again, just to say…
“I know…your wife,” I smiled, and offered quickly instead. “I’ll just bet she takes such good care of the little things, like this.”
And then, I leaned in and with a quick wink I laughed, “But, I hope it’s alright,” I continued, “to be stuck with me instead?”
“Oh, I suppose just for today” he said, as his smile lit up the room—and I believe we could all feel, just how quickly that smile nudged worry out the door.
And as we paid the cashier, and walked out to his car—this dear gentle man, hugged me and said, “You know, my dear…you’re an angel, you are.”
And just as he began to turn away, he paused again, and just to say, “You know, my wife…she just passed away. I haven’t been able to leave the house—I was just too overwhelmed. She was the light of my life, and the girl of my dreams…and she was always right there to take care of these things. So many take for granted these things, until they’re gone. But I knew, that I was one of the luckiest ones.”
He explained how very hard it was for him to come out that day, and all those folks standing in line…they didn’t help much, that way. And when he realized that he simply just didn’t have ‘enough’—that’s precisely the moment, my voice hit his heart.
It’s so easy to become lost inside our own little worlds…thinking over all the little ‘stacks’ and ‘piles’ waiting for us at home. We think that our worries are the weightiest ones of all.
And then, if we’re lucky, we’ll meet an old guy in line who’ll really show us how it’s done.
In each day, we all have the capacity to decide what ‘enough’ really means. And, it can seem daunting, I know—when it is we feel most overwhelmed ourselves. We tend to close our eyes, and fall into this ‘trance’—afraid to open our eyes and look around, for fear that something else may hit.
And yet, every once in a while someone may come our way—and just in time to remind us, of what enough really means.
And on these days, that you feel most worried about this ‘not having enough’—just remember, your ‘not enough’ could just very much make someone else’s day.
And, in this case, that ‘cost’ was just 53 cents.
Bonus Poem on What Enough Really Means:
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”
- – – written by Bob Perks, Read more at Poem : I Wish You Enough …
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta