The other day I found myself passing though a nearby coffee shop. At a small table near the door sat two white-haired gentlemen – one significantly older than the other. On the wooden desk before them sat scattered papers and other reading materials.
As other customers came and went, the two friends sat across from each other on an island of calm as the world busily rushed by around them.
Hearing my order called, I turned to gather my coffee from the barista and took a seat across the room. As a continuous stream of people came and went from the coffee shop, the two men remained in their self-defined cocoon of solitary existence.
Sipping my drink and gathering my thoughts for the day I kept finding my attention returning to the two men across the room. Both were happy, cheerful, but serious about their friendship. The each leaned towards each other as they spoke, the motion simply used to indicate respect and interest. These two men truly enjoyed each other’s company.
My attention, as it does, returned to my own thoughts for a few moments until a casual glance to the wooden table revealed something special between the two – the younger man had begun reading aloud to the older man from a large book.
We’ve all seen it – the unmistakable warmth that radiates from people who truly love to be around each other. The atmosphere surrounding the wooden desk in the small coffee shop was no exception. Tired eyes sparkled and smiles gently created rippling waves across each other’s faces.
I thought about how the one man was helping the other – reading aloud to him. As we grow older, the world locked behind the small letters encased between the covers of book or magazine become more difficult to untangle. But our thirst for unscrambling the code before our eyes is continuously driven by our lifelong desire to never stop learning.
To see one friend helping another in this manner was simply touching. Most people are hardwired to help others – our hearts easily tugged or influenced by those in need. But the action of making something happen can easily be relegated to a long list with a heading called ‘one-day’.
Speaking steadily, the one friend continued to read to the other. A simple action of one reading to the other was a wonderful example of one person opening their heart to another in need. We never really know where our opportunities lay, but we do know they are all around us. Our task is to be listening with not only our ears, but with our eyes and heart – and then act.
My thoughts in order, I excused myself from the table where I sat alone with my thoughts and began walking towards the exit. Pausing as if only to capture a taste of the goodness radiating from the two men, I noticed the older man leaning in more closely, his head nodding, his attention deepening as the words leapt off the pages.
Returning to my world, the one filled with deadlines, places to be, and products and services to be delivered, I smiled knowing that all is good with the world – and all I needed to do is stop by for a cup of coffee to be reminded all of such.
– 30 –