Last Friday morning I received a call that changed my perspective on my career, I was upset about the call because I felt embarrassed and discouraged. I cried out of frustration and sadness, I found myself shadowed by my self-doubt. I decided to leave work early that day, i needed to clear my mind and get home as fast as I could. I sought the comfort of my bed and the warmth of my home.
It was late afternoon as the sun started to descend and the cold wind picked up flecks of snow off the ground. The blue line train was busy, bustling with people in over-sized coats and overstuffed luggage. Travelers heading to the city from O’hare crowded the small seats and fogged the windows with conversion. I stood in my usual spot near the door, leaning my body against the metal divider. An old man in his late 80’s slowly came onto the train, his blue coat over-worn and his bag pooling with papers and wrappers. before he sat down, he offered me the open seat. I kindly declined and began to read my book.
I looked up from my pages every few stops to keep aware of my surroundings, every time I did, I found the old man casting a friendly gaze my way. He always smiled and looked back down at his hands, worn with age. The train began slow and the old man rose from he seat, he walked over and stood across from me, balancing his body against the unsteady movement of the train. I continued to read, catching glimpses of the man rummaging through his small bag. I was slightly startled when the old mans hand appeared across my book page, he held 3 polish chocolate bars.
The train doors opened and he said softly, “you have a happy new year.” His voice laced with wisdom and exhaustion. He left the train and blended into the crowd at the platform. The train door closed and the began to pull away, I held onto the chocolate bars and smiled. When I got home I placed the chocolate bars in a cabinet for safe keeping, a reminder, to savor the sweetness when everything looks bitter, to create my own light among the darkness.