I couldn’t take my eyes off her, furtively glancing away and then returning to rest my gaze on her. At times, she raised her eyes as if to think about her life and where it brought her. At times, looking out. She had that look of a worn out soul.
There was something about her face, her expression. The way she held on to the railing by the window, swaying with the motions of the bus. She was wedged between the window and a standing crowd and nobody had offered her a seat.
I can’t put my finger on it…but something made me want to hug her and help her. I don’t know the stories behind the lines on her face, her wrinkled hands, her tired soul, but something made me want to understand.
When the bus jerked to a stop, someone stood up and left the seat in front of her vacant. Nobody would have noticed but her face lit up, just that little tinge. She gestured quietly to a young lady beside her, presumably asking if she wanted that seat. The lady shook her head and she edged carefully from her standing position to take the vacant seat.
She was an old lady; she didn’t have to do that. She had a right to that seat. But she asked. And something about that gesture made the tears well up in my eyes.
I watched her intensely and noted the relaxing shoulders, the relief that spread across her face when she closed her eyes. A small smile tightened her lips. That relief.
In that moment, I realized that I do want to believe there is a God in this world. I wonder if that corrupts my intellectual ability to prove. I think it does but it’s done already. Because I’m coming to yearn for a living God whose solace we can seek and experience. And if I say it’s not for myself, would you believe?
In that moment, I understood what it means when they say in finding God, we, the powerless, become powerful, because we surrender ourselves to Him. It means all the years I’ve looked at an old person and felt that inexplicable guilt for my futility to remove his burden and frailty, I can commit all these to God and trust His divine comfort to reach them.
I want to believe that I can heal these old people who strike such compassion in my heart, such that I cannot believe I’m capable of feeling, because I can depend on God to heal through me. I want to believe that a gentle hug and soft touch from my hands can reach into their hearts and fill them up with a depth no mortal hands can because the love of God flows through mine. And I want to believe that when I pray for that old lady tonight, a gentle but immensely powerful being hears my prayer and swiftly goes beside her and delivers her like no worldly comfort can.
I want to believe in the marshmallow in a world of hard nails. But maybe tomorrow, I can’t again.