Finding Little Ways to Share Our Treasures
Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to feel grateful for what we have. Besides feeling grateful, we can do something about it. Spending Thanksgiving in New York City gave me ample opportunity. Waiting for La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera, I glanced through the list of contributors to the opera, some giving as much as thirty million dollars. How would it feel to make such a gift?
Up since four AM to travel to New York, my energy began to wane after two acts in standing room. Carol and I decided to meet Mike, who performed in Act II, at the ticket office and call it a day. As we waited, a man came and sat next to us. He settled his satchel and take-out coffee on the floor, plugged his ears into the Sirius Radio headphones on the wall next to him and listened to the intermission show.
Maybe he could not afford an opera ticket. The threads of his clothes looked ready to separate from each other. Yet no spots stained his suit. No offensive odor emanated from him. I guessed that he loved opera and ambled in from the street to listen for a while. I greeted him and he shared a tidbit from the intermission show.
A plan began to emerge but I had no wish to offend him. How could I put it? As the intermission wore on, a sense of urgency overtook me. I asked him if he would be heading back in for the third act. “Oh no.” he said, “ I’ll just listen from here.” I gathered he had no ticket. I offered him mine, telling him I could not stand any longer although I thoroughly enjoyed the first two acts.
He came to life at my offer. In the few minutes we had before the next act, he told me of his manuscript in the scuffed and worn leather satchel between his feet. He never let it out of his sight. He is writing a book about how opera fits into the overall culture. As a writer, I would have liked to spend more time with him. I knew that if he did not soon make his way to my spot in the theater, the doors would close and he would be no closer to the stage than when he arrived. Profusely thanking me, he gathered his effects and made his way toward the stairs.
I don’t expect to ever see him again. No time to exchange names or contact information. To me it was a small favor. For him, perhaps the chance of a lifetime. I will never know.
Life Lab Lessons
- What can you share?
- Who can use it?
- Would you feel better?
- Would someone else feel better?
- Take a chance.
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