There were two mugs in front of him.
Presumably he was waiting for someone. A woman walked up the stairs behind the man and before he saw her, she embraced him. They kissed. They sat by the window, holding hands. They exchanged few words and long gazes.
I could not see the man’s face from where I was sitting in the café, but every time they looked at each other the woman’s face lit up, her whole being illuminated. Their exchanged filled me up. I felt overwhelmed in that moment by true love. I felt incredibly grateful to witness that exchange.
This is the world that I live in.
This world is beautiful.
Later that night, in the dark and stillness, I walked home under the streetlights. I just finished teaching a yoga class. The room had been full, the energy strong and grounding. As I walked home I felt that same sensation of being filled up, grateful and blessed. I live on a busy street, in the center of the city, in a neighborhood that is alive. As I shut the front door to my apartment behind me, I turned to look through the window back out onto the street.
Illuminated by a street lamp, I watched a man across the road. He pulled white cardboard boxes from a trash can, the kind given to restaurant patrons to take whatever food home they have not finished.
I watched him open the boxes, one by one, to see if there was anything left. I watched as he transferred scraps and bits from the boxes into a bag that he was carrying. I watched as the man walked away from the trash can and down the street.
I could see that the man had white-grey hair underneath his navy hat. I wondered if he was as old as my parents, or perhaps older. I wondered if he had any children and where they were. I wondered why he was alone. He was limping and I imagined that he must feel pain in his body, to have to carry himself that way. I felt deflated.
This is the world that I live in.
This world is heart wrenching.
There is a lesson in these observations, though I am not yet totally sure what it is. Perhaps, it is to be deeply grateful for and to cherish the moments of love and light.
Ordinary, everyday magic, these moments are truly profound.
Perhaps, the lesson is also to live with unrelenting compassion for all people, for we cannot know their circumstance nor must we judge.
This is my community: this is the neighborhood I live in, this is the world that I live in. With deep love and compassion, what is broken can be fixed and what is masked in darkness can be illuminated by light.
This is my lifelong commitment and devotion.
This world truly is beautiful.
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Assistant Ed: Kristina Peterson / Ed: Cat Beekmans
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