Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 1:11PM
It was the end of summer, and a friend invited me to go to a
fundraising dinner for HOPE International (how ironic)! I love HOPE; they
are a great organization that does real, sustainable work in the developing
world, and their fundraisers always have wonderful items at the silent
auction! I had never been to a HOPE event in Vancouver. Never mind that the
focus country for this year's banquet was Haiti! My two friend's friends and
I had just returned from Haiti where we had left a bit of our hearts and
gained a lot of faith while running small medical clinics.
I awoke in the golden, late afternoon sunshine satisfied with a few
hours of sleep post-nights. I love having a "plan for adventure" to motivate
my getting up- a far superior motivator to loud alarms! Joy filled my steps
and my breath as I danced, singing around my apartment about the glory of a
God who is oh so good! After a careful telephone consult, I was convinced to
wear the legendary "Black Dress of Joy." I think everyone needs a "Dress of
Joy," a garment that makes you feel like royalty, comes to you out of
interesting circumstances, and can represent landmark life moments. The BDoJ
is a raw silk little number that I WAITED to buy on sale, fits me like it
was tailor made for me, and can be as formal as I want it to be. BDoJ on,
earrings and accessories decided upon with skype friend-consult, and a great
leather jacket to tie it all in, I clip-clopped my high-heeled self down to
the skytrain station. Another thing I love- public transit. It always gets
me to my destination at a predictable time (this is as delightful as
cupcakes for me because I struggle with being notoriously late)! I also
appreciate being able to socialize or read or just ponder life while being
carried along, and taking the transit makes me feel like I am being just a
little more "green."
Sitting there on the Expo line, I looked up to see a man wearing
Carhartts entering the train. I noticed him. He seemed to be in his
mid-thirties, dark hair, looked like he had just finished a day at work, and
he had a can of pop in his hands. Not many men would be found with a simple
can of ginger-ale after a day of labour. I made eye contact with him and
smiled, our gaze locked for at least four long seconds, long enough for me
to turn my head away from him with blushed cheeks. The train lurched
forward, and he stood for a second, seemingly looking for something, then
asked me if I had a paper; he liked to do the crossword. I passed him the
old semblance of a newspaper which a previous seat-occupier had conveniently
wedged between the chair and the wall. He smiled, thanked me, and sat down
again, hardly noticing the paper in his hand.
Perhaps what happened next resulted from the power of the BDoJ;
maybe it was the enchanting golden sunlight reflecting off of rivers and
houses tops beneath the steady hum of the skytrain. Or perhaps it was an act
of grace for one who just needed a bit of affirmation. Whatever it was, we
soon found ourselves engaging in an exchange of both spoken and unspoken
interests. He had been to Afghanistan, I was a nurse, and these two worlds
seemed open and interesting to each of us. As the train filled, the man
invited me to sit beside him. Happily I skipped over the space that had
divided us and sat down comfortably. The easy conversation continued
naturally until he interrupted me to say, "Um, you have a little something
on your cheek."
Again my cheeks flushed, this time in embarrassment as I tried to
"rub off" whatever was invading my "perfect" complexion. Two attempts later,
the culprit was still on my cheek, and that's when the man thought he would
take matters into his own hands, gently reaching out to brush my cheek with
his rough thumb. Did I breathe? Did that just happen? I gathered my
composure and tried to pick up our conversation from where the "cheek touch"
had left it. As the train rumbled on, we continued to share; then he noticed
my earrings, and leaned close to hear details about my work, and shared
openly about his childhood and hopes for the future.
Arriving at the final stop, I arose alongside the man to exit, and
as we walked easily side-by-side, I asked which way he was going. "Well," he
said, "my stop was actually at Main, but I was enjoying your company, and
your eyes, so much that I decided to stay on the train." Gasp! Blush, smile.
"Thanks," I responded.
He walked me out of the station; up the escalator we exchanged
names, and as we began to go our separate ways, he took my hand and said,
"Well Danielle, I am sure we will meet again," then lifted my hand to his
lips and kissed it. Kissed my hand! I was a bit shocked at first, but shock
was quickly replaced with the sense of being lovely. "I am sure we will,
Luke" I managed. Then we walked away. No numbers. No emails. Nothing but a
sense of hope to keep us connected.
The remainder of that night was nearly as remarkable as my surreal
train-ride had been. The dinner was exquisite, and I cried as Chantal
Kreviazuk performed "Invincible" behind a photo montage of Haiti.
In my cozy bed that night journaling all about the evening's events,
I couldn't help but feel incredibly frustrated that I hadn't given my number
to Luke. Why didn't I just take his hand in mine and write my number on his
palm? That would have been epic! Or planned for another meeting right then
and there!? I called out to God, my great Friend, the One who was there with
me even on the skytrain. It seemed like I was faced with the choice between
two courses of action: to trust that Luke and I would meet again if it was
what God wanted; and two, to take a proactive approach and Facebook stalk
So there it is. a real-life fairytale; a story that reminds me to
continue to hope, to expect that "this could be the day" that adventure,
love and greatness could happen. When my hope begins to die, it is more
often than not evidence that I have stopped trusting God. Hope that dies is
caustic; hope that shifts and grows is Holy.