It Must Be Lonely

[Listen to Asha read this story]

Adjacent to the lobby of the hotel where Swamiji and a few of us were staying there was a small jewelry store. For hours every day, a woman sat alone behind the counter.

“I never see any customers in there,” Swamiji said.

There was nothing in the shop that Swamiji wanted to buy, but the next day we went in.  “Every day I see you sitting here,” he said. “There are so few customers, what do you do all day? It must be lonely.”

She seemed startled to be addressed in such a personal way,  then touched by his kindness. 

“I read,” she said. “I have a little paperwork to do.” Her voice trailed off. “It is lonely,” she said. Her eyes filled with tears.

Swamiji offered no words of comfort; he was silent and still. I was standing next to him, and suddenly I was enveloped in an expanding sense of joy, emanating from him. He was reaching out to her with his spirit. Suddenly her eyes shone with happiness. When Swamiji saw she had received what he had come to give her, he wished her well, and we left the shop.

After that, whenever he went by, Swamiji would greet her through the window. Often, then, she would come to the doorway and watch him until he was out of sight. Just seeing Swamiji seemed to ease her loneliness.

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