Not To Pass By On The Other Side

That time when we were on the bus. Must have been, what, 11 years ago now. And the coldest winter I can remember.

Maybe below 0 degrees Fahrenheit that morning not counting wind chill. The kind of cold that takes your breath away, the kind that causes your eyes to become glassy with tears.

Did this older woman sit down next to me? All I know is that there she was next to me and that we’d hardly said a word to one other before she began talking to me. Before she was talking to me about cancer. Was it hers? Her daughter’s? One of the two.

What did she want? What was it that I, a stranger, a young fool, could offer her?

Not to pass by on the other side. That’s it. Not, in the welling up of suffering, to be passed by on the other side.

Because suffering can be so cold and often is otherwise.