Have you ever had a mind full? Thoughts whirling through your head like a tornado, round and round? Yeah, that was my mind tonight. Everything from groceries to life changing questions. They wouldn’t go away. Worry, doubt and fear slowly started creeping in. Frustrated and in an effort to clear my head of the thought tornado I decided to go for a run.
Keeping it light the only thing I took with me was my house key tied it to my shoe laces. I chose the scenic route, the river. Peaceful. Nice breeze. Relaxed pace. As my pace quickened my thoughts dropped onto the pavement. With each step my mind was becoming quieter and quieter.
I fell into a pace. Soon all I heard was the pounding of my feet on the pavement. Then the rhythm of my breathing was the only thing I heard. My mind became clearer and clearer. I forgot everything else. It was a dance between my feet and my breath. I was so engrossed in the dance that I didn’t even notice my shoe laces coming loose. Unknowingly they loosen more with each mile until it was too late. Clink! Tripped over my laces and face down in the pavement.
“Perfect timing” I thought to myself, “I don’t where it is and it getting dark”. I searched all over the sidewalk, grass and even the cracks between the sidewalk. No key. Worry began to set in. Woman, alone, in the dark city, without a key and no cell phone. Not a good combo. I kept looking. Now it was dark and still no key. Crouched on the ground nearly eye level with the pavement an older shabbily dressed man on a bike rolled up. His front basket was full of odd things I couldn’t identify. Dirt was all over his face. I knew instantly the bike was his home. Yet, something inside of me told me it was okay to talk to him. This is how the homeless man helped me get home.
He got off his bike and asked if I was alright. I told him I was looking for my house key. Quickly he joined the sidewalk search. He pulled his head light of his basket of odds and ends and handed it to me. “Here”, he said shoving it in my direction, “a bright light helps in the dark”. Together this man and I searched. Finally between the sidewalk and the grass, I found it!
Happy, I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Thanks! You’re the reason I’m gonna make it home safe tonight.” He told me he was homeless and asked for $1. I would have given him $20 if I’d had some cash on me. Smiling he placed his hand on his heart and said gently, “Young lady I’m glad I helped. Many people have helped me before. I’m just glad to return the favor.” Tipping his hat, he jumped on his bike and took off.
The encounter made me think. I ran alone tonight. I could have let loneliness set it. Being alone and lonely would have been easy. I could have let the fear and doubts from my tornado mind swirl me into feeling lonely. Lonely wants to focus on what you don’t have at the moment. Like I didn’t have a running buddy.
What I know now is that I did have running buddies. I just couldn’t see them, because they were flying next to me. Angels, I must have had angels watching me, because there was no one else around. No cars. No other people walking or even biking. I learned that the key to being alone and not lonely, is to remember that there are unseen forces working for you and with you for your good. To give you help because you’ve helped someone before. I couldn’t have planned this man’s arrival. It was perfect timing!
I had no idea that me loosing my key would remind me that I’m not alone in this world. That there are many people that I’ve helped along their way to finding what they needed to find. This stranger became a friend because he asked a question and helped me when I needed some light. His time and kindness touched my heart. I’m sitting here at my desk. Safe and warm, because he helped me find my key. A man with no home and no place to sleep tonight helped me get home.
~ Sarah Suero