She sat on the bench waiting.
Maybe she was waiting for the rental car bus to pick her up. Maybe she was just waiting for the fire to reach her lips from the cigarette she held between her fingers. I wasn’t sure. But there she sat, letting the smoke fill her lungs.
I watched her from the other side of the street. Her face told me she was far away. Her mind was wandering up and down the sidewalk while she sat there on that cold bench raising the cigarette up to her mouth to inhale the stress in her life and breathe it out again. Just trying to let go.
“Are you ok?,” I yelled across the street.
“Whats your definition of OK?”, She asked me, looking for some kind of reference point to base her current existence.
I walked across the street and sat down with this stranger.
I found out her name. I found out where she was from. She shared with me her disappointment in Love and how foolish decisions had led her to this cold concrete airport bench.
She looked down the road towards the cars passing by.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re not the person I want to be talking to right now.”
I looked at her. Tears streamed down her face creating a glimmering effect below her eyes. She had been waiting for another to meet her here. Another person to listen to her pour out her heart and maybe even hold her in his arms. She was waiting for the person to whom she gave her heart. Here I was instead.
I listened as she poured out her heart. I listened to her disbelief, her desires, her uncertainty, and her pain. I listened to how she blew her money on Tequila just so she could close her eyes and sleep through the heart break she was living in. How she stayed an extra day in hopes that the man she cared for so deeply would finally back up his sweet talk with actions. I listened to her tears fall down her cheeks and hit the ground when there were no words left to pour out.
I listened to her silence.
“Are you hungry? We could get out of here and grab a bite to eat. My treat.”, I said.
“Yeah. I could probably eat something. Maybe nibble on some fries.”
“Curly fries or regular cut fries?”
“Curly Fries. Curly Fries are the best.”
It was the first time I saw her smile all night. The first time I saw her break out of her own head and think about the future in a hopeful, positive light.
We got in the car and headed off.
We got some fries and talked story about where to go from here. She wanted to go back to the airport and sleep on the concrete bench for the night. It was her way of punishing herself for the foolish decisions she felt she had made. I offered her a place to stay. A couch that was just as hard as the concrete bench that she would go back to but there was a pillow where she could rest her confused and tired mind. I tried to tell her that punishing herself wouldn’t change the past and only keep her from moving past all of this. At first she didn’t want to listen, but then after a while she agreed to stay at my place for the night.
We took the long way home and I blared Lord Huron’s “Ends of The Earth”. She closed her eyes and soaked in the music as we made our way.
“To the ends of the earth would you follow me?
There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see
To the ends of the earth would you follow me?
If you won’t I must say my goodbyes to thee”
We both slept well that night. Maybe rest was all that was needed to get her head cleared a bit. Just enough of a recharge to start putting one foot in front of the other and move forward in life.
We drove to the airport.
“I really just don’t have a purpose anymore. I am losing hope in Love.”
I could see it in her eyes still, the emptiness that sleep hadn’t wiped away. The longing to be cared for and cherished.
I told her about Love. I told her where she could find it. I told her that purpose was never meant to be found in another person, but in the One who gave us life itself. I dropped her off and gave her a hug.
“Thank you for being Human,” she said as we walked toward the security checkpoint.
I looked at her. She was smiling.
I wondered how much more she would be smiling if she was told the truth right from the beginning. I wondered if she would ever be able to trust another man after believing so many lies and dealing with the consequences. I was trying to understand how someone could live their lives believing there is still good in the world when they only experience the bad over and over again.
Our words matter. What we put out into the world shapes the way we look at others and the way we look at ourselves. It also shapes how others see the world.
I pray that the words I say and the way that I live is a positive reflection of how life can be lived, how people can be loved, and how life is bigger than the sum of our experiences.
Don’t make life more difficult for others because of your selfish desires. Think about the effect of your words and actions before you make them a reality, because once its out there it is impossible to take back.
BASED ON ACTUAL EVENTS
When’s the best time to look for purpose? Right Now.
When all your answers have left you dry. All the love you thought would never leave you walks away without you ever knowing why. Look to the heavens, look to the sky. Throw your hands in the air and ask Him why.