My heart both broke and healed the other day and I learned that we are given the chance to answer the very prayer we have for ourselves.
An elderly man with a shovel ended up on our front porch. When I calmly asked if he needed help, he replied with a string of words, some I understood and some I didn't, accentuated with whistling, in a way that didn't make sense to me.
It was his tie and mismatched shoes that told me he wasn't a threat even when this stranger tried to come into the house. Instead, I knew he was lost and I was reminded of my deepest fear for my dad, who had Alzheimer's, doing the same thing when he was alive.
And when it did happen on a Christmas Day, I have never since felt such gut wrenching panic praying that he was safe and that someone would know that he belonged to someone., to me. That was one of my most vulnerable moments of absolute helplessness and I couldn't get to him fast enough. His simple block's walk from his senior apartment to a store ended only when the road he was on stopped 4 miles later.
Our elderly visitor made his way through a neighbor's backyard as I was on the phone with the police to come help us get him home. Coaxing him to the front, we sat, drank water, and "talked" a long while before the police arrived.
I couldn't understand what he was saying and I don't think he understand a lot of what I asked him by his blank expression. Nonetheless, he patted my arm several times as if this sweet morse code was meant to let me know he felt safe as we continued to chatter cheerfully.
In the back of my mind, I knew he "belonged" to someone, that he was someone's somebody. I feel deeply that the world balance so much more quickly if everyone remembered that.
The day could have turned badly if our visitor had been met with fear and anger. Discern safety calmly first, always, then act from a place where everyone is someone's somebody. The photo above is my dad, but it could very well could be our unexpected visitor. The photo above could be your somebody or a stranger you pass by on the street...it could even be you.
In this case, the lost was found when the caregiver arrived. And, the circle for me closed when my heart broke over this man's vulnerability and healed at the same time by extending simple company to a stranger, just as I had prayed someone would do for my dad.
Sometimes, you get to step into a story where a stranger becomes an echo of a loved one and a past wish merges into the moment before you that you can fulfill.
So please know this: If you have a deep prayer that you would never share with anyone else, know that YOU are the blessing that you pray for. You are the light you hope will spread across the world. You are the grace you wish to receive.
You are deeply loved by someone - you are someone's somebody.