On Thursday night, I was on my way to a fundraiser for healthy hearts; I was late as usual, catching every red light imaginable. But, there are no coincidences in this world. While stopped at this one corner in the city, a homeless woman, probably my age, was holding up a sign, asking for help. I rolled down my window and handed her the cash I had in my wallet, a $10-bill. She looked at it and began to cry, "Now I can sleep indoors tonight, you're my angel."
She then picked up her sign, her bag, and ran off in the direction of the shelter. After that, I began to cry, too. To think $10 meant so much to another human being actually broke my heart. Her leaving that corner meant more than that though. It meant my $10 was a greater sum than she thought she'd make if she continued standing out on a street corner in the cold at what was essentially rush hour. An equally heartbreaking recognition. Because, it means that of all the folks lined up behind me in their expensive cars, people that have jobs in order to support those vehicles...very few would have rolled down their window and handed her anything close to $1, let alone a $10-bill. Frankly, $10 is the equivalent of two venti coffee drinks at Starbucks; it's not nothing, but in general terms, $10 doesn't mean much in a given day to a working professional. But it meant the world to a woman who needed the safety and warmth of a shelter for one night.
Later, at the fundraiser, a local DJ whose show is syndicated nationwide waltzed up to me at the bar and handed me four tickets to opening day at the baseball stadium--which was the very next day. The picture insert was taken that night. I had no idea that was going to happen, but it was really cool. I happen to love baseball, and my lunch appointment ended right before the game started. The seats were behind home plate, too. Two of my nephews were miraculously able to attend with me. Everything just sort of fell into place. As we drove through the city to the stadium, I explained to the boys, 16 and 12 from farm-country, that the city has a million stories. Those stories belong to a million people. And, each one is unique. Which really means that each person, no matter how they may look on the outside, should never be judged for any reason. Compassion isn't just for pretty people, rich people, people who drive nice cars, famous people, or people who have jobs. Compassion is for everyone. It's free. Like kindness. As is the faith that people can rise above even the worst of circumstances.
The game was fun and everyone ate too much. As we walked out of the stadium, a little girl dressed in pink, maybe two-years old, pushed by me. I was startled and nearly fell. The older of my two nephews is six-feet tall and steadied me; he's my guy, that one. Always watching me. Making sure I'm okay. I do the same for him, too.
The little girl that nearly knocked me over was running ahead of us now. I wondered where her parents were. Then, a man with a big booming voiced called out, "Emma!" My heart just about stopped. My #Emma would have been that little girl's age today; recognizing that in an unexpected moment made me swallow hard.
I trademarked #Emma in 2016, an acronym for "Everything (in) My Mind Awaits." #EMMA helps special kids in need. Including the thousands of homeless kids in the city of Atlanta. Disabled kids and kids who have survived childhood cancer on Cape Cod and Greater Boston. Autistic kids in Philly. Kids in a one-parent or low income household in New York. And, a little girl named Chloe diagnosed with Leukemia on March 2, 2017 who lives in New Jersey. Another child will go to summer camp for a week in 2017 with 4H and learn about the environment for free thanks to #EMMA. And, #EMMA is going international this year, helping children being treated for cancer in Ireland, where my Emma's marker is. That's a lot of good from something incredibly bad, and it's just the beginning. Still, none of it replaces what I lost 28 months ago.
In the mean time, while talking to a friend last night about these synchronicities, I found myself crying thinking about that little girl. The Emma who nearly knocked me over. The whole way back to my car after the game, all you could hear was her father calling her name, "Emma!" "Emma!" "Emma!" I thought I was going to go mad. Later on, I was looking through a catalogue that had arrived earlier in the day. Turned the first page, and there it was, "Emma." It was engraved on a silver baby-bracelet.
I wonder what Carl Jung would say to all of the above???
Did you know the word "Israel" is Hebrew for "one who God has made straight"? It was the name given to Jacob, Abraham's grandson, after Jacob battled an angel; in Hebrew, Jacob is Yaacov; it means, "one who is crooked." Jacob, a literal #Twin, was a total scumbag early in his life, using lies and deceit to steal his brother's birthright, marrying two sisters...his kids were jerks, too. A bunch of them ganged up on their youngest brother, bullied him, beat him, and left him for dead. And yet, Jacob evolves to become the father of Israel. His jerky kids rise to become the founders of the twelve tribes, and, the boy that was left for dead? His name was Joseph, but I bet everyone called him "Joey." Good ol' Joe manages to climb out of the pit of despair his own flesh and blood left him in to don a technicolor dream coat as the trusted advisor to the leaders of Egypt.