“Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder every day
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”
So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello.”
– John Prine
On Saturday morning I went to the bus stop near my apartment to catch the bus to the farmers market. When I got there an elderly woman was sitting in the bus shelter with a worried look on her face. When she saw me she talked in an agitated way. I told her I was sorry, but I didn’t speak Portuguese. But she continued to talk to me and then started to sob softly.
Without words I felt helpless to support her in any way, until I remembered I could say a prayer of loving kindness for her. Silently I said: May you be peaceful. May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you be at ease and happy. May you be free from all pain. May you be loved.
After a minute of reciting the lovingkindness prayer the woman’s sobbing stopped. Our eyes met and she gave me the slightest nod of her head. The bus came. We got on. She sat across from me and looked calm and peaceful.
The power of the loving kindness prayer transcended all language barriers and reminded me once again, we are all on this journey of life together. The more love we give, the better we feel, so let’s spread loving kindness whenever we can. Let’s say hello in there, hello.