I recently decided to try and spend every weekend possible alone, to unwind, organize my thoughts and connect with my center. I made a quiet promise to myself not to interact with anyone for most weekends, unless I really have to, and that excludes text messages or phone calls with my parents.
I have never been a fan of parties or the habit of having to go out every weekend. Even when my friends invited me for BBQ on a sunday, or to go to the movies on a saturday night, I have to admit that I had to exert much effort to convince myself to get ready and attend the event.
So today is a sunday, and I managed to spend all saturday alone, being quietly productive, and slowly packing for my upcoming move to my new place. But today I had to step out because I needed some fresh mushrooms for my steak, which I could have tried hard to convince myself to give up on for other veggies that I have, but then I urged myself to go out when I realized I almost ran out of mineral water- Now that, I cannot do without.
So I stepped out, ran into a neighbor in my building, small-talked my way out for 30 seconds, and headed to the nearby market. I bought the mushrooms, and while at it, a pineapple, – Gotta have those enzymes, oh so extra serious about my training and diet lately- and headed back to my place. I usually buy the water from the corner store under my building, I picked up the water, and on my way out, I bumped into a poor woman and her daughter, I was embarassed to have only given her the tiny change I had left from my quick groceries, and said sorry. She asked me to buy her half a liter of milk, I said I was sorry I had no more money, but two seconds later I realized that I could get her the milk and pay the store later, since I’m a regular customer.
I walked back into the store and asked for a liter of milk, he pointed out to a brand I didn’t know, I asked if it was very good, he smiled in a way that conveyed both contentment and surprise for my constant pickiness about purchases he knows I am giving away- Then I said with a smile ” I am serious, does this milk go bad fast?”. He told me not to worry, ever. This had happened a few times before, and I had happily paid for beverages and sandwiches, because in a way that does erradicate that little doubt we might have inside that we are being manipulated.
I grabbed the milk and gave it to the lady, she smiled and said thank you, and then her daughter enthusiastically said “May God keep you always shining!”. To see a child who is about 10 years old be that happy for some milk and say those deep words… It felt as if something breaks your heart, and then the words that follow instantly mend it.
I walked in my building, took the elevator, wept for a moment, and quickly told myself what I usually tell it every time I am hurting, “Tears will make you feel better, for a moment, but they won’t improve anything. Get the good ouf of the bad. Make someone happy, you’ll be happy”.
I rushed into my place, grabbed some cash –I am obviously not trying to make myself look good; and I have no gain in doing such a thing- and those who do know me, those who are like me, they know it is no pretense- After all we see people how we are — I ran back downstairs and was happy to find her and her daughter not so far from my building. At that moment, the mother told me “I hope you get everything you wish for from the heart”. and I said “Amen, sister, Amen…” I wished her good luck, admiring their smiles, and feeling this immense smile on my face, and went back to my place.
Before I stepped out today, I had no idea I was going to speak to anyone – In fact, I had just had some coffee and was getting ready to do some strength training, and then all this happened. I am very happy I went back downstairs, because if I had just told her I didn’t have any money on me- and I really didn’t, and left, I would have kept on thinking about the pitiful poverty and not be able to focus on my training, or even train at all.
Now I feel better, for my small contributions might make only a few people happy, but they add up. I wrote for myself, in an attempt to let this load of emotions and reflections out in writing, and less vocalizing; and if I shared it to you, it is to inspire you to keep doing the good that you are doing, no matter how small it is, and to motivate people around you to do the same. It is true that some people who beg have made a profession out of it, manipulating passerbys and harrassing tourists or locals, faking a disability, or pretending to have disabled child, but the vast majority really are genuinely in need of your help. And even if someone has enough money but fools you into helping him or her, it is okay, because you did it out of a good faith.
And I firmly believe that what goes around comes around, not just in revenge and harm, but also in the form of goodness.