A Group of People

She gave him a lollipop by @kelmar4

In giving, life, perspective on July 12, 2011 at 2:58 am

By Karen Mares

She walked down our street on an early summer day in her long coat and her scarf covering her head. Hunched over, she walked up to me while I was putting Boy in his car seat, ready to rush out for an errand that I can’t even remember now.

She approached me, and said, “Here, for him. I a Grandma.” She handed me the lollipop to give to my Boy. She had a thick accent that sounded Russian. Weathered face with a big smile, life had clearly not been easy for her. Yet, she smiled, and carried lollipops in her purse in case she saw a child. Her smile became mine and Boy’s. She made him happy, and me grateful. Grateful for her thoughtfulness, her smile, and the path she had journeyed to bring her to us.

She walked away after we thanked her, hunched over, a slight limp, and I haven’t stopped thinking about her since. I wondered what brought her to my street, brought her to America. I imagined all kinds of reasons why this old woman, who had clearly lived much life in her years, was here, walking down a random suburban street with lollipops in her purse. I wondered how she had survived whatever she had survived and still managed to have a desire to bring joy to strangers by sharing not only her lollipops, but in a way, a part of herself.

When I contrast that with my own self-induced frazzled life, something stirs inside me that I can’t quite put my finger on. We chase and run after the things we think we want. We get myopic. Crossing paths with this beautiful old woman reminded me that sometimes what we think we want isn’t what we need. Perhaps what we need is to make sure that we have a spare lollipop in our purses in case we see an opportunity to bring a little joy to someone else.

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