Hello, and welcome to my study break! This week has been absolute insanity – it’s my 21st birthday in the next little while, I have 4 assignments left (2 of them due tonight!) and tomorrow will be my last day at university – EVER! Where have the past 3 years gone?
Today I just wanted to share a quick little story with you about something that happened in my week.
The other day, I got an interview with a publishing house for an internship – I was so excited. I go to university in my home town, and going up to the city was exciting in itself. Mum helped me to shop for an interview outfit, dropped me at the train station and I set off feeling confident and blessed with opportunity.
Overall, the day was a success – after 11 minutes they had offered me the internship (praise God!) and I couldn’t have been more excited, but I let the little things bother me and the crazy emotional high quickly turned to a low. In all the excitement I hadn’t realised that my feet were bleeding from blisters (don’t walk 2 kilometres in heels girls), I still had a decent walk to the station, and I was feeling a bit sick and sorry for myself. I got a little bit lost, walked too far and missed my train – in retrospect, I should have been grateful for my situation. These are not bad things, but the little things built up and got me down.
When I finally got on a train, it was so packed that I couldn’t move. Hemmed in by 3 prams and about 15 school kids, I waited for someone to get off before moving around the train for the next 40 minutes trying to find somewhere to sit down. Eventually I found a seat with a bag on it, and asked the man sitting there if I could sit where his bag was. He looked at me, then down at the bag and said, ‘uhh… no.’ Frustrated at his rudeness, I continued walking.
As soon as I walked upstairs, a man in a suit looked straight at me. ‘You must have been standing for ages.’ He was right, the train hadn’t stopped for a while, and I think I must have looked like I was about to cry. Standing up and grabbing his bag, he said, ‘please – take my seat.’ Although I said, ‘oh no I can’t do that!’ he replied, ‘yes you can’ and moved away with a smile and a wave. Being the emotional person that I am, I sat down and cried… in front of a whole carriage of people who had just witnessed this man’s kindness and now knew exactly how much it meant to me. When the seat behind me became free, he got a seat again, and when a middle aged lady came looking for a seat, he gave his own up again.
The seat that this man gave up for me turned out to be an even bigger blessing than I had first realised. I sat between a Greek man, a Filipino woman and a Syrian family who all wanted to talk to me and tell me about themselves. The mother of the Syrian family wore a head scarf, and though her English was broken, she turned to me and tried her best to start a conversation. ‘Your tears, they’re happy tears?’ she asked. I nodded. ‘You in Australia don’t wear the scarf?’ I shook my head and affirmed that it wasn’t customary here. ‘I think you’re very beautiful,’ she said. I told her that she and her daughters were also beautiful – and it was one of the most beautiful and unexpected exchanges of compliments that I have ever experienced. The Greek man, I found out, was their neighbour who had recently lost his wife and adopted this Syrian family as his own, taking them on a personal ‘tour’ of the city. He had even packed a picnic lunch for them. The hardships that he told me they had endured put my ‘rough afternoon’ into perspective.
By the time I stepped off the train, I felt thoroughly blessed by the man who had offered up his seat. Not only had he given me a place to sit, but a place where I had the opportunity to fully appreciate my own life and the lives of others.
I hope this story encourages you in some way. It’s definitely something I’ve been reflecting on throughout the week, and continue to be encouraged by myself.
— Lauren x