My Princess Lucy is a magnet for certain kinds of people. She doesn’t love everyone. There are some people she just ignores politely by turning her regal nose away from them ever so gently. But there are some who reach out to her and she meekly allows them to cuddle her and hug her and fawn over her. Even before her favourite shop opened across the square, she liked to hang out at the churchyard, where they serve free breakfast and a cheap lunch to the down and out. And she has acquired a few friends among the homeless folks in the process.
This morning, we were at the churchyard near where they serve free meals for the homeless. Lucy was enjoying her hugs from one of her homeless friends. A very thin and frail old lady came up to us and asked if she could pat Lucy. She looked so happy to hug and stroke the Princess and once again I was reminded of how lovely my girl is, to bring a moment of joy to people who do not have anyone to hug. I saw that the old lady’s gloves were torn. Her hands were scarred, very thin and shriveled and I noticed signs of arthritis. I know those signs, even though the kind of arthritic inflammation I suffer from is different (mine is due to the autoimmune), I have studied the condition from many angles, while researching my own condition. She could hardly move her finger joints. I reached into my pouch for the gloves that were inside. A pair out of many that my beautiful baby sister had given to me, when I first set off for Sydney. I felt very glad I had those gloves in my pouch. I gave them to her. She was hesitant at first, I guess she was surprised that anyone would do that and a little embarrassed? Her fingers and hands were so gnarled and stiff I had to help her put on the gloves. She was quite visibly moved. She even said a prayer for me. I was not embarrassed because this was special. I don’t like it when others say prayers for me that way, I find it intrusive. But this was different, it was the only way she could give me something back in return, and thus preserve her dignity. I accepted that exchange. A good exchange. That simple act of giving to her has blessed me far more than my act of giving something that I had many of was worth. I wish it was a warmer better pair. But that was what I had at the time. I gave her a hug and we said goodbye. My last visual of the old woman was her face, she was almost in tears as she waved to us.
It was just a pair of gloves. Not super high quality, simple but cute gloves made of acrylic and wool blend, beige yarn with a fun animal print grip patch on the inside. What made them precious to me was that they were a gift from my baby sister. And I treasure the gifts that special people give to me. I usually carried it in my pouch when out walking with Lucy to wear when I find something interesting and want to pick it up and take it home. The grip patch makes it easier to hold on to things like wood or branches, and the gloves offered protection for my hands so I don’t get cut so easily. (Yes, working with recycled materials can turn one into a scavenger of sorts!) Now, that pair of gloves has passed along the chain of blessing to another person who needs it more than I do. My sister has shared in this process, and I know her love for me will be rewarded too. Who’d have thought a little pair of innocuous gloves would go on such a wonderful journey across thousands of miles and cutting through so many different dimensions of existence?
I noticed she had no covered shoes, she wore socks and sandals, and her socks were worn and scruffy. Such a cold day. It is awful to be cold and old and alone. I made a mental note to carry some warm socks with me now, just in case I see her again. I hope I do.
I am always so awed that Lucy is such an angel. The looks on the faces of those who need and so appreciate the few moments of non-judgmental hugs and kisses from a gentle, black velvet coated greyhound are a sight to behold. I am emboldened by my Princess, and humbled that I can be a go-between, taking care of this little angel of sweetness and comfort. Miss Lucy has taught me so much, hasn’t she?