When I sat down from delivering a talk this last weekend, the young man that was sitting at my table enthusiastically congratulated me on a job well done. About an hour later as we were sitting at lunch, he asked if I wanted to know the part of my talk that was resonating with him. I, of course said yes, wondering if it would be the despair that I tried to explain, or maybe the challenges, or perhaps one of the list of steps I took to get back on a path to joy after having been drowning for over 2 ½ years in deep grief. It was none of the above.
The part of my talk that touched this young man was the story of the night when my husband had come home and acted so strangely that I finally took him to the doctor the next day. The story went like this:
“One night, my husband came home from a business trip extremely late.
When I confronted him at the door, he said with slightly slurred speech that on the drive home he had to close one eye because he was seeing double. I of course asked him if he was drunk (as an aside, my husband very rarely had even a beer so this was way odder than it sounds ☺.) My husband, of course, denied drugs or alcohol.
My interrogation continued and then he began laughing. I asked him why he was laughing and he said he wasn’t. I was nearly pulling my hair out in frustration and yelled, ‘Yes you are laughing, what is wrong with you?’
Then my husband switched on a dime, shifted gears and tells me in a soft, calm voice, ‘Guess what happened at the airport? There was a really nice lady. She came up to me and asked me if I needed help. I told her I was looking for my gate and she took me by the hand to walk me to my gate. Wasn’t that nice?’
My husband traveled all the time. Why would some lady feel the need to take his hand and walk him to his gate?”
In case you don’t know my story, the end result was my husband had cancer that had metastasized to his brain. He had hundreds of lesions that were seriously impairing his ability to think.
This young man from my talk was fascinated with the woman from the airport that took his hand to lead him to the gate. He likened her to an angel on earth and it gave him pause to think about others that he will never know their name, that helped him in some way over the years, to find his “gate.”
We all get lost sometimes. Has any stranger helped you in your life to get on a better path than you were currently on? Did you accept the help?
By the same token, have you been an angel on earth to a stranger? Would you go up to a big strong man that had bulging eyes and was acting strangely and ask if he needed help?
We are all in this life together and we all struggle from time to time. I will probably never know who this nice woman was that helped my husband over 7 years ago, but her actions have inspired this young man and me, to put ourselves out there if we ever come across the path of someone in distress. Will you do the same?
Will you take someone by the hand and lead them to their “gate?”