Monday, February 05, 2007

a blessing

today i gave a ride to a stooped old lady. i was going to my yoga class, headed down a side street, when i saw her standing outside her home in the bitter cold, something near nine degrees cold. she stood on her concrete steps and waved at me as though she were expecting me and i rolled down my window to say hello. i don’t know her, really, though i met her several times during early morning walks a year ago. her name is anna. she said, “can you take me?” and i answered, “yes.” i didn’t know where she wanted to go and i wondered if i would be late for my yoga class but at the same time i knew that giving this woman a ride was the only thing to do. you might say it was a nice thing to do or maybe even the right thing to do. i simply know it was the only thing to do.

when she got into my car she asked me my name and i told her, “diana…diana christine.” every time i meet her she asks me my
name and every time she asks i don’t mind telling her. she is a very old woman. she can barely speak english and my spanish is poor but i understood her to say she wanted to go to church. not the church across the street but still, one that was only a few blocks away. i was happy to take her to church. she explained that she is from ecuador but i couldn’t understand anything else she was trying to say to me (i can speak a lot more spanish than i can understand when another speaks to me). we smiled a lot and talked about how cold it is. at least that is what i think we talked about.

when we arrived at the church she asked me to bless her, and in fact, she wouldn’t get out of the car until i blessed her. i stumbled through a blessing but she kept saying, “bless me.” i thought perhaps she wanted me to make the sign of the cross (which i don’t know because i am not catholic) so i tried to do that but it seems i didn’t do it right and she shook her head and again she said, “bless me.” finally in her exasperation she said thank you, and climbed out of the car.

after she left i prayed that she be warm, that she be comforted and be at peace, that she feel her own strength. i prayed her blessing. alone in the quiet of my car, i blessed anna in all that she is and all that she would be. i think this time i got it right.

perhaps it is that the wizened part of me, the “old girl” part of me, seeks a blessing. perhaps a part of me seeks honor, seeks to be lifted, seeks to be comforted or strengthened or gifted. and maybe it is that another part of me seeks to rise to the occasion and proffer the blessing. i will keep trying until i get it right.

for today, perhaps the most important thing i did today or maybe the only important thing i did today, was give an old woman a ride in the bitter cold and offer her my blessing.

photography by permission


Yankee, Transferred said...

My youngest daughter and I were driving home from her school in the Boston area, years ago. She shouted to me to stop the car. There was an old woman lying in her front yard. We pulled over, got out, and picked her up. We brought her in her house, and food was burning in her oven. I asked her how long she had been there and she told me over an hour. We stayed with her until she called her son, which she didn't want to do because she said he was just looking for an excuse to move her to a nursing home. She had gone outside to feed the birds and had fallen.
That was in April. We moved in July. The day we were leaving town, we went past her house.
There was a For Sale sign outside.
Younger Daughter and I still talk about that day and how good it felt to help, but how sad we knew it really was.

diana christine said...

yankee ~ when i read your writing i am always touched most by your kindness and tenderness. i am happy knowing you are in the same world that holds me. thanks for sharing this story with me and my readers.