Coming From A Stranger

Submitted by little woman on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 19:41

My church offers coffee and donuts after the 10:30 Mass. My family goes to this Mass both because it is the time that works best, and because the the littlest members can be bribed to behave well.

"Sit still and you can have a donut when Mass is over." "You need to face the front and stop waving at Annie, or no donut."

Not very holy, I know, but until they can see the beauty of the rite, they will be threatened with their once-a-week donut.

Anyway, about a year ago, my family was in the Church Hall (really the basement) after Mass, either talking or snarfing, as the case may be. I hadn't been getting enough sleep that week, and was just waiting to explode. I had been on the verge of tears all morning. Then, IT happened. I don't remember what IT was, except that I asked my dad about something, and he said no. In retrospect, it wasn't very important, but at the time, it seemed like a big deal. This caused me to start crying, and I was positive that not only did EVERYONE see me, but that as soon as I left people would start whispering. (I can be a little self-centered when I'm upset.)

I wanted to go be by myself, but it was about 30 degrees outside, so the best I could do was the ladie's room. Unfortunately, it seemed as if half the church was in there. I was holding in my sobs as best as I could, and when everyone had left, I sat in the farthest stall, crying my heart out. I know, pretty weird.

I heard someone walk in, and start to fix their makeup. I tried to calm myself down, so as to lessen my total mortification. I was drowning in self-pity when I heard a voice say something that I've never forgotton.

"I know this might sound weird coming from a stranger, ... but is there anything I can do to help?"

I sat there, shocked. Someone wanted to help me? Someone I didn't even know? Really? Wow! I realized that those simple words had already helped me so much, yet how could I convey this? I replied,

"No, but thank you."

A minute later, I was dabbing cold water on my face with a scratchy paper towel, trying to wipe away mascara streaks and make my red face less conspicuos. I blew my nose, and went and apologised to my dad for getting so upset over something so small. And you know what? It felt really good. When I was done, he forgave me and gave me a hug. 

I wouldn't remember this today, or be sharing it, if it hadn't been for that lady. I wanted to thank her so badly, yet when I had the chance, I was too bewildered, and later, I realized that this was impossible, as I had no idea what she looked like. I want to tell her what an impact she made on me that day. I've always been self-concious. When I see someone in need, I wonder What will everyone else think? Will I seem weird? What if they don't want my help? Then the simple words of a women I'll never know com floating through my head. "I know this might sound weird,..." She felt self-concious too. Yet she went ahead and asked anyway.

Will I ever be that strong, to always help, even when I feel insecure? I hope so. Because you never know. It's the little things that count, right?

Author's age when written


This is so well-written and true and great...I just love this! It's the best essay I've seen so far on AP, with all due respect to everyone else. The whole point of this is perfect. It's fantastic! AHHHH!!! ;)


I LOVE this essay. I have now read it four times. Not the style you wrote it in, but what you said (if this makes ANY sense) was what made me read it (sooo many times). I just like it. :)

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Thank you for commenting. :) It really makes my day. Both of you have said such nice things, and they touch my heart.
But more than that, thank you for reminding me I posted this.
I needed to re-read it; isn't it funny how you forget you wrote some things, and then discovering them is better than the first time?
Sometimes I need to be reminded.
Thank you.

The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.
-G. K. Chesterton

This sounds exactly like something I would have written in highschool...everything about it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could find a similar entry in a journal. :D

You write very well. Your pacing, your word usage, your clarity...colorful and engaging. And sparking memories is pretty talented: I think it means you've written something human, realistic, and universal. :)