Last weekend, I was blessed with an opportunity to serve as a volunteer at a meditation retreat in Maryland. I don't have a car and the closest Amtrak station is about 30 minutes away from the actual site so I wasn't sure how I would get there....I started thinking that maybe it wouldn't be possible and after a really long week, thought that maybe I shouldn't volunteer at all. But I went ahead and posted a request for a ride on the ride share board.
A few days later, an individual I had never met replied that he would be able to pick me up and drop me off at the station. He was also planning on serving but said he would wait until my train arrived before driving out there.How kind of this person whom I've never even met, I thought to myself. My heart warmed and the stress I had been feeling from my week melted away.
We ended up arriving at the retreat site just as the team of servers was meeting at the end of a long day
. This place is a new site without that many facilities. There was no central heat and the temperature dropped to 30 degrees at night. The tiny team of servers were exhausted and grateful for the additional help.
For me, that weekend filled up my heart just as it was running a bit low on faith....we all worked together as a team with such love and enthusiasm. Even though we all had never met before, we created a seamless system, contributing wherever it was necessary without being asked. It felt beautiful to be a part of this and watch it unfold against the backdrop of the site, which was located under a star filled sky at night and sun dappled trees during the day.
When my new friend dropped me back off at the train station, he noticed that it was in a deserted kind of area. There was no one else around, it was cold outside, and I still had 30 minutes to wait. So he parked his car and said, "We will wait for the train to come together."
I couldn't believe his compassion and kindness....I knew that he had to be at work the next day just like me. And that his wife and son were waiting for his return....but he just waited there with me so patiently, generously serving with his time. Every time I begin to become just a little cynical or jaded from the daily grind in Washington, DC, people like him remind me how to love and how to give.
With five minutes left before the train arrived, he shared with me stories from his childhood. As a young boy, he used to sit near the edge of the train tracks, excitedly waiting for the trains to rush by with all their force. That night, before returning home to his family, he waited with me as my train approached...it didn't rush by at full force but I left that station feeling the full force of his compassion and generosity.