I went to Soldier Field on Saturday for The 29th Annual Walk to End Hunger so intent on making that a day to be alone – to serve, yes. But also to sulk. About 10 minutes after things kicked off, I started thinking… Going over the “why’s and what if’s.” The second I felt a tear coming on, a little grey-haired lady, wearing a baseball cap, and a yellow reflective safety vest – you know, the standard walking gear for women of a certain age… The vest says, ‘I mean business in these Reeboks, but I’m also too old to run out of the way if necessary, so please recognize this vest as your warning to slow down when you see me out here with my walking stick…’
Anyway, this sweet lady, who I now know as Gloria moves in on the right and starts walking next to me. We walked for some time before she started to make small talk, I managed half a smile, just enough to seem friendly. But the silence returned and so did my urge to just walk alone and beat myself up for not seeing this train wreck coming in my love life.
“Yeah… Life really is something. I had to make myself get up and come out here today.”
(Half a smile) “Yeah.”
“My grandchildren are out here for the walk today too.”
“I’ve been dealing with so much anxiety lately since I lost my husband. It’s just really hard to be alone sometimes. So they… the doctors, say the best way for me to deal with that is to focus in on something else… And well young lady, today, I saw you and decided to focus on you. So I hope you don’t mind if I walk with you this morning.”
(Uh-oh… The tears started coming back.) “Not at all. You are more than welcome to walk with me.”
We finished the walk together – which was much longer than I had anticipated in a pair of Converse – and I hugged Gloria, thanking her for walking with me and told her how happy I was that she decided to come out.
When I take the time to volunteer my time or talents for a cause, it’s my way of thanking God for loving me – flaws and all – and blessing me with so much. The morning I arrived at Soldier Field, my mind was on an emotional roller coaster and I certainly was not entering this event with the spirit of someone who wanted to be friendly. I wanted to be alone. But God had other plans – and for that I am grateful.
The seeds of kindness that you plant today will one day bloom in the hearts of all that you touch.
Philippians 2:1-30 (The Message)
“Tiberia Baptist Church from the West Side of Chicago!”