Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kindness of Strangers

Setting:  Yesterday.  Approx. 4:00 PM.  A cold Tallahassee day.  The city bus depot.

Enter a lone man who sits on the bench to eat his Popeye's chicken wrap, biscuit, and sip his Mountain Dew.  Across from him sits a mother and her child.  The mother is white, her daughter either adopted or of mixed race.  The most precious little girl, playful and talking cutely about whatever strikes her mind.  Innocence.

All three of us are bundled up, so after my meal is finished I asked "How old is he?"  After being corrected by the mother and apologizing for the mistake due to how covered we all are, the mother replies that it's fine and that she is 5.  She reminds me of my own little sister, Allison, who is now 8, but whom I got to see grow up from a newborn and in various stages of her life (one of them when she was precisely this age).

Thanks to the widening of my circle of compassion due to my now daily practice and meditation, I feel for this mother and child as if they are my own mother and sister.  We talk as if we've known each other like old friends, and I say the same little comments I would to Allison.

"Five years old?  You're getting big!"
"Pretty soon you'll need your own purse."
Etc., etc.

After about 20 minutes of conversation, their bus arrives just before mine.  We say goodbye to each other, no names exchanged.  The little girl, for no particular reason --- and as if to restore my faith in humanity (which, of late, has sometimes been called into question) --- runs up to me and gives me a big hug before running onto the bus.

Such moments remind me of the buddha-nature of all sentient beings, and make my heart smile :)

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