Life gets so busy. I’m always finding something to be stressed about. It’s easy to get bogged down. To feel mired by the stress of all the day to day drudgery stuff–deadlines, kids, bills, messes, too-much-to-do-not-enough-time-bullshit– everything… Especially when we have “one of those days,” right? I had one of those days, just recently…

What should have been an easy hour-ish long Metro ride into Bethesda wound up taking around six hours round-trip thanks to track maintenance. I couldn’t find the building I was going to once I got there. On the way home, it started pouring rain while I was in line for a transfer shuttle in DuPont Circle. And then, the Metro shuttle dropped us all off in front of a closed station and nobody knew where to go next. We all poured off the bus and scattered in the rain like soggy cockroaches, ducking from awning to awning.

I did get lucky: a lovely young woman who knew her way around DC offered to help me out. She left me standing under an overhang while she tried to find the nearest open station. I waited there with my hair plastered to my face, looking like I needed to be twisted and wrung out. A homeless man who’d made a sort-of bed for himself under the overhang started to call for my attention. I thought maybe he wanted cash, and I dug in my bag to see if I had any. Hell, in that weather? I felt for him, having to sleep outside (turned out, I couldn’t find any). But no, he was pulling an umbrella out of the bag he used for a pillow, and offering it to me.

I swear, I almost cried. I don’t think I have ever been more humbled in my life. I may have been soaked and exhausted, but some way, somehow, I was eventually going to make it home. I was going to have dinner with my husband and my kid and get a shower and crawl into a bed. A dry one. With pillows. The umbrella I’d forgotten to bring with me that day would be sitting by the door to use later. And this man was offering me his umbrella, which he needed far more than I did. I declined, and thanked him about a billion times because I didn’t have anything else to give him and the woman whose directions I needed was shouting for me to hurry and cross the street.

But God, what a reminder to be grateful for the things we have, and that we can all afford to be more generous. For me, that moment made the entire day worthwhile.


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