I have not felt connected to anything or anyone for some time now. Even before the pandemic decided to blow in and cause so much uncertainty and turbulence, I was feeling less than grounded, or happy, and undoubtedly less than worthy of meaningful connections.  Today though, I was blessed with the sweetest spirit I have encountered in such a very long time. Hope was restored and a sense of joy was felt, if only briefly. I will take what hope and joy I can find and stand in gratitude for the experience.

I was excited to start my day with a brisk walk in the park. My go to place is a small park near my home simply because it feels comfortable there and it’s the one place I can go alone and not feel lost. My walk is intentional every single time. I go expecting the beauty of nature, I expect to see cardinals, and squirrels and flowers, and these are my tried and true friends. I expect to have conversations with my God. I expect to write stories in my head and hope that I can remember them later when it is time to put pen to paper.  I tend to engage in people watching, it isn’t always purposeful but I am observant and people catch my eye and stories unfold. This morning I saw a pretty little girl with lovely long blond hair that was pulled back in a way that reminded me of my own little girl who is now a young woman. My heart was immediately filled with so much happiness.  She was wearing a long purple dress and was barefoot. Her little sister wore a pink tutu. They were both engaged in conversation with their momma.  I treasured the entire scene. There is something so special about a momma talking to her children about whatever their inquisitive little minds bring into play. As I quickly came up behind them I declared that I was going to pass. With that, the door was opened for the barefooted little girl to ask the question if I knew where the road would take us, where did it lead. The road is our journey, I wanted to say, but that was a bit philosophical and a terribly inappropriate answer for a five year old. Instead, I explained that we were on a loop and that we could choose to take the long way around the loop or a shorter one but either way we would be back where we started. This girl with her charm and free spirit won my heart with her first concern of not knowing where the road would take her. Oh dear one, the road will take us far, our journey will twist and turn, it will become rough terrain and then it will be smooth, and as this is repeated we will learn many lessons along the way.  However, I reassured her that our path this morning was safe. She began talking to me about so many wonderful things.  Her mother told her that I wanted to walk fast, but she didn’t mind, she quickened her pace to try to match mine. I slowed of course but not to a typical kindergarteners pace of walking, it took some effort on her part. Her little bare feet never rested.

 I adored every single delightful word her little mind could conjure up. She had so much to say, so much to ask. She told me about her plans once “this virus is over”.  She does not yet speak completely clear but I understood every word.  She told me of her love for talking and how she could talk all of the time. My kind of girl!  She talked of bouncy houses and flowers and books and makeup and her big dreams of staying up all night. She shared with me stories about sisters and brothers that came to visit and of a cousin that wanted to sleep with his mommy and daddy even though he had his own bed. She continued to make me smile. She was concerned about the color of her hair changing when she got big, and the plan to color it back to blonde because she loves blonde hair! I confided that my hair, which is very close to the color of hers, stayed the same, even when I got big. This pleased her and surprised her mother. We walked ahead of the momma and the tutu clade younger sister, all the while carrying on our conversation like old friends. That conversation will stay in my mind and heart for a very long time. As we were walking and talking and finally slowing down I knew that I had met a little soul sister, a sweet tiny tribe mate. I was spending my morning walk exactly how the Universe had planned for me. We saw my friends, the cardinal, the squirrel and the flowers that I always stop to thank for their beauty. We also found on a bench the reminder of God’s presence in our lives written on a small piece of paper.  This intrigued her and made her happy. We admired how the bees had built a nest in the story boxes, until my curiosity lead me too close to the front of the glass and an angry wasp stung me on the face; in the crease of my nose to be exact. This caused me to yelp and caused the other members of the little group concern. We walked on just a bit longer but the pain was too intense for me to continue.  I let my new friends know that I needed to leave and attend to the wasp sting. It was abrupt and regretful. My little precious friend was done, she was no longer interested in walking and told her momma she wanted to go home. It was surely time for lunch or at least a snack by this time anyway and I am sure her little feet were tired. I said goodbye, went to my car and made the quick trip to my house.  After taking care of the pain and swelling, I hurriedly went back to find the trio. Of course, I didn’t find them. Their walk had ended probably soon after mine. I felt sad but I walked one more loop and decided my morning adventure had ended.

 Some blessings last a lifetime but many are fleeting. Sometimes blessings are meant to surprise us, to remind us that there is hope, that we are worthy. Life really is full of beauty and joy if only we are open to notice and receive, even when we feel lost and alone.