Sunday, April 15, 2007

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

I was living in New York City as a first-time grad student in the fall of 2000. It was a discouraging semester, and times only got tougher as the weeks went on. On the way back to my apartment one afternoon, I decided to pop into a sandwich shop for a takeout lunch. I can’t remember now why I (ever) chose that place. It consisted of the counter and a narrow galley space with an exit at either end, it was always raucous and jam-packed with people pushing their way toward the counter and then to the exit, and I always emerged from it feeling annoyed and disheveled, like I’d just survived a skirmish. It was close to my apartment, though, and on some days, maybe that was enough.

That afternoon, after minutes of being pushed and shoved to the middle of the shop where the counter was, I was suddenly stopped by a huge black man in a business suit. He was built like a linebacker and was easily 6’8”. How I hadn’t noticed him in this crush of people was beyond me. I’m 5’2," and to be approached by anyone in this city of strangers was so unexpected, I could only stare.

Not put off by my mute staring, The Linebacker in a Business Suit bent his head down toward me and smiled. ”I just want to tell you it’ll be okay.”


He kept smiling and nodded as if to acknowledge that he understood my startled and rude response to him. “I know things are hard right now,” he told me, “but it’s going to be okay.”

Before I could reply, I got jostled by the hordes of students packed around me. When I looked up—maybe two seconds later--he was gone. The man who had been standing at least a foot above the head of even the next-tallest person in this tiny space was nowhere to be seen. That familiar tingly feeling that always marks these kinds of moments for me was already setting in, but I maneuvered myself enough to turn around and look for him anyway. When the place was that crowded, even a paper-thin man would have had to push his way through the mobs of students and book bags-thrown-over-shoulders for a full minute before finally reaching one of the two doors at either end of the shop. The man was just gone.

When I got back to my apartment and shared the story with my roommate, she shivered and crowed, “You have the weirdest experiences!” And I do, I suppose, but I had walked away from The Lunch-Hour Skirmish Sandwich Shop that afternoon believing all the more something I’ve really needed to hold on to ever since: The Universe is aware of Little Old Me and is sending me a sign here. I believe in holding on to hope, I don’t think we’re ever alone or unloved, no matter how lonely or unlovable we may feel, and I trust that the Universe is always somehow aware of us as we plod our way through it. It's going to be okay.


Anonymous said...

Are you trying to say that guy was Mr. Universe?

DrMom said...

My angels were dressed like hippies. Well, it *was* 1967. They rescued my little brother, who had wandered away from my mom while she was downtown shopping, and brought him to the police station. I was searching a nearby store when the police called to say if any of us was there, someone was bringing my brother to the station. I ran there, caught up with them as they reached the front steps, and picked up my brother to hug him. Turned around, and they were gone. Nowhere to be seen, and nowhere they could have gone to be out of sight in an instant. There's more, but that's the gist of it. So yes, I believe your story wholeheartedly.

Val said...

Exactly, drmom. And thank you.

FlowerLady said...

Val ~ I believe your story too. It reminds me to write a post of my own experience. I think it is wonderful that little reminders of God's love and care come to us when we need them.

Thank you for sharing your story.


Val said...

Thank you, FlowerLady. And I love stories like this, so I'll look forward to reading yours if you share them. :)

Marie Rayner said...

Val, that was an amazing experience. My life has been far too filled with similar experiences not to believe you! God has His eyes on us all the time and His angels surround us. I love the scripture which tells us that! Love YOU! Thank you so much for sharing! xxoo

Val said...

I thought you'd like that, Marie. ♥

Lisa said...

Wow - I don't recall having read this one.

Val said...

Yes, it's fairly tucked away back here in the really old posts. :) I find myself thinking about this encounter a lot still. He was SO BIG, lisa. He truly disappeared. It makes me feel like crying even now--It just gives me chills. So much wonder.