Thursday, October 25, 2018

Little Girl by the Roadside

Do you often wonder why you do not act in a timely way to do something rewarding for self or others? Has hesitation or lack of conviction let an opportunity slip by?

A few days ago, I was in a car traveling over bumpy, dusty roads returning to Katmandu from a remote area of Nepal. It is a poor country, rural for the most part, and access to education or varied livelihoods is slim to none for the indigent.

In the distance, the figure of a small girl came into view, an apparition in a landscape with no dwellings or villages in sight. As the car neared, it became clear: she was holding four green-colored fruits for sale. She lifted her arms in a gesture of offering, beckoning the vehicle to stop, eyes aglow with a beguiling invitation to purchase the meager fare.

The two men in the front seat - a driver and a guide - were completely uninterested or unaware of her plight and the vehicle whizzed past as if she were a non-entity, a ghost, a nothing.

I wanted to stop and purchase all of her fruit, give her an extra donation, and allow her to rest instead of standing by the roadside amidst a whirling dust cloud kicked up by the car. I said, "Stop," but the two fellows were talking and didn't hear me.

And here is the moment of opportunity lost. Instead of loudly repeating my request, a hesitant inner voice decided it might annoy the driver, or he was too far past her and it would be inconvenient to back up. Thus, she was left behind.

I looked back to watch her arms lower. She simply stood, waiting, waiting, waiting, for the remote chance another car would come along with a more compassionate driver or passenger.

I will never forget the lovely smile, the eager eyes, the innocent, sweet look of a small child offering us sustenance in order that she might eat for the day. My heart hurts as the memory of her unsullied purity went unacknowledged.

If there is a lesson, it is this: ACT without hesitation or fear. From the smallest to the biggest of life's challenges, boldness and strength are required, lest an opportunity for the good passes us by.




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