As we enjoy the holiday season, there will be much giving and
receiving.  I take the time to finally write a few words about a recent trip to Paris and an unusual opportunity to “give.”

 Imagine being in Paris, one of the world’s beautiful cities, yet  being in a foul mood.  That was me! 

There we some pressing money matters at the office that were detracting from what would otherwise have been on of my favorite annual trips.  I emerged from the Metro at Charles DE Gaulle Etoile and rested for a moment on a
bench, all the while anxious and irritated.

A short distance away from my bench, with the Arch de Triumph looming in the distance, I observed a conversation between an elderly couple.  I could not hear them, but it was clear that the man was irritated and his wife upset. 
She wore a Sari. 

The husband walked away toward Champs Elysees , leaving the woman waiting behind on the bench.  In a few minutes the  woman walked toward me.  She asked me in English if I knew where the tour busses waited for returning
passengers.  I told her I did not know.

She seemed relieved to find someone who spoke English.  We exchanged pleasantries – she was from Punjab, living now in California.  She was concerned that she and her husband had missed, or would miss, their bus. 
She gave me the details of her tour group, the bus company, and where she
had been dropped off as best as she could recall.  I told her I would put my limited French to use and see if I could speak with a bus driver on her behalf.

 As I proceeded toward a nearby bus from the same tour operator,
the man I recognized as the woman’s husband was crossing the street towards
me.  I told him I was looking for his bus and had spoken to his wife. He explained that he had found the bus and all was well.  I walked back to the woman waiting on the bench.  I explained that her husband had sorted everything out.

 She thanked me profusely [even though I had in fact done nothing
of any real value to aid in her plight].  I replied with a meek “Namaste,” which she returned.  I headed “home’ toward my short-term rental flat.

 Yet, as I walked away a feeling of peace and comfort seemingly
rolled over me to the point where I had to actually stop and just let it in.  Until I met this stranger, my thoughts were only of me, my problems, my stress.  It would only seem logical that the key to unlocking the stress would be to receive something in response to my needs.  Of course, as I write this, I realize that I was indeed given something, but what was given to me was the gift of giving to another - even if only trying.

 Although nothing I did helped this woman along her way, I had
stopped to help – to at least try.  In the time we spoke and the few minutes I spent looking for her bus, I imagine this nice lady felt some comfort in knowing I was trying. And her gratitude and the few minutes spent helping her was just what I needed

I will carry that sense of peace and tranquility passed to me in our brief farewell for the rest of my life and, I hope, remember that the when I feel myself in need, the true remedy may well be to help someone else.


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