Message from a Stranger; a Meeting of Compassion

By Henrita Frost, SSND

“You are beautiful”
Message from a stranger
Meeting compassion

One Saturday morning, after having the oil changed in my car I decided to stop for lunch.  As I was sitting there a woman stood before me and said, “You are beautiful” and walked away.  Having been absorbed in my thoughts with a problem, I wondered what she perceived that I couldn’t feel.

Then there she was again greeting me with “you are beautiful.”   She sat down to wait for a cab.  Kerry began to share about her life, the difficulties and changes.  After 20 years she had just returned to the area where she has family.

Kerry offered to treat me to desert which I had ordered.  Instantly I offered to buy her lunch saying I have plenty of money.  Then I caught myself – a gift is being offered – this isn’t about you, it is about Kerry.  I said to myself, “free yourself to receive.”  The check had come and she placed a $20 bill on it.  I felt uncomfortable as I handed the $20 and my credit card to the server.  The hostess came to tell Kerry that her cab had come and in an instant she was gone.

I wondered if Kerry needed the money.  Again I had to remind myself – this isn’t about you, it is about someone who has offered you compassion.  Surely, it was a welcomed offering as I reflected on how I felt when I was absorbed in my own thoughts about a problem.

After my encounter with Kerry life was lighter and brighter!  If I could always remember, that the power of pausing for simple encounters with others is uplifting.  I also wonder if you are beautiful was about inner or outer beauty or both, but it really doesn’t matter, for whatever it was the encounter was beautiful, profound, mysterious and a simple experience of compassion.

A brief encounter
Time for the spirit to soar
Grateful for Strangers


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