What you seek is seeking you. –Rumi

This quote reminds me of so much in my life right now—and so much I wish for—but for some reason it also makes me think of this woman I’ve noticed on my morning bus commute. Usually still groggy and not yet ready to face a day of work, I rarely notice people in the morning, but for some reason I took notice of her.

She’s so open and ready to have a conversation with the person beside her. When I notice her, I’m usually grateful that she hasn’t taken the seat next to me. I’m working on being more open with people, though openness at 8am is asking a bit much of me. But she’s made fast friends with another woman, and when they see each other they talk nonstop until their stop approaches. They may only have a few minutes of conversation, but as an observer, it looks like deep, meaningful, connected conversation.

I sometimes feel envious of that.

This morning, her friend didn’t get on, so I watched as she sat next to a man, who was working on his iPad with earbuds in his ears. He was clearly in the zone in whatever he was doing.

She talked to him anyway. She leaned over and very politely asked him a question about his iPad, saying she just recently received one as a gift.

He reluctantly removed one of his earbuds and answered brusquely, like a passenger on an airplane determined not to engage in conversation with his seatmate.

She asked another question. And another.

At some point, their conversation turned to his contacts and his photos. He became animated talking about various people that had been part of his life.

“And some of these people have passed away,” I heard him say wistfully. He enthusiastically told her about specific people; they were names, addresses and photos on a tablet, but to him they were part of his personal world.

We all want to tell our stories.

When her stop came, she got up and gratefully said, “Thanks so much. I’m so sorry to have disturbed you,” and then stepped off the bus.

Energy altered, he now looked as if he could have talked to her for hours. Their connection, in its raw humanity, was palpable. There was something beautiful about it, and I felt honored to have observed it.

We all want to be heard.

Watching their exchange taught me that having someone, even a stranger, serve as a witness to our stories is the epitome of grace.

Though we may not know it, what we seek does also seek us—and somehow miraculously finds us.

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