I met this girl once in Bangkok, because I watched her and her sister-in-law ask several Thai people for directions to no avail. No one knew where to direct them.
I sighed, drug myself out of my over-stimulated-introverted haze, and offered to help. We spent, oh, perhaps 25 minutes together. Five minutes helping walking together to the next train station, 5 minutes waiting for the train, 15 minutes on the train. It was crowded, during rush hour. They were from India, headed home. I was an American, wondering where my home was and slightly envious of their comfort. As travelers do, we exchanged names and she added me on Facebook.
I don’t know why, but I still feel a kinship with her. She messages me occasionally, and I know she’s very aware of my goings-on. She’s been an encouraging stranger, and invited me to visit. I plan to do so, one day, and would be honored to visit this gracious woman’s family in her homeland.
I miss that instant kinship with travelers, but right now – the stabbing pain is gone. The angst of loss has softened. The unimaginable disillusionment at the loss of dreams has faded as I begin to reconstruct a hopeful future, understand my worth in this place. Replaced with that weariness is a deep gratefulness for the wealth of experiences I had the honor of accumulating before the age of 30.
Deep down, there is still a restlessness, as I try to nest – I also just want to purge. Stronger than that restlessness, though, is a hope for things forgotten to re-emerge. An abiding belief that I will meet this friendly stranger again, that I will be helped by a reluctant stranger and while I am here – I can be that help I once was to Kanika. Being at peace opens so many doors.
Gratefulness is a delightful tonic. Openness is the best gift. Vision is worth sharing.