A life lesson at the bus stop

This note was posted at the 1-California bus stop at Sacramento and Buchanan, across the street from California Pacific Medical Center, on the day after Christmas.

You were standing here, waiting for the bus, and so was I. I asked if you worked at the hospital, and you said: “No, I have cancer. I went to see the doctor. He just told me I won’t see Christmas.”

Something happened to me after I heard you say this. All I could feel was your energy, like I connected with your pain. You looked so healthy, so strong and very young for your age. I couldn’t understand why you would have to die.

You talked to me about your beautiful life. Then the bus came and you said to me as you shook my hand: “I’m not sure what your name is, but it was a pleasure talking with you today.” We got on the bus. I wanted to sit near you, to let you know that I was sorry about what was happening, or to say something that would comfort you; but I didn’t seem to get any words out of my mouth. You got off the bus a few minutes later. That was the last thing I knew of you . . . I don’t even know your name, but I have been thinking about you ever since I met you. You changed my life. Knowing about you has allowed me to live more fully.

Today I want to believe that you are still with us, inhabiting this world. I want to thank you for being such a beautiful instrument for my peace. After meeting you, I walk slower, I sing more, I complain less, I hug more, I talk to strangers, I think less, I live more.

May peace be with you, wherever you are.