"To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer. To give a blessing creates the reality of which it speaks. The problem of modern living is that we are too busy to notice that we are being blessed."
~ Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen
After a week of unbearably cold temperatures, a spring-like day appeared. I was planning to take full advantage of the glorious weather by taking a long and brisk walk. I started out at a good pace when I ran into a neighborhood acquaintance. Greeting her, I fully expected to continue on my way when she shared the sad news that her beloved dog had died, and she missed those walks they took together. She was having trouble getting back into a routine again. Then she asked if I minded if she walked with me. How could I say no? We walked and picked up trash and most important of all ---- we talked. We talked about her beloved dog, about our neighborhood, the new grocery store, the needs of poorer families in the community, about ways to keep our open spaces free of litter, her community involvement and her creative work. We parted with a hug and I could see that our time together had lifted her spirits. That chance encounter which led to a slow walk brought us both a sense of togetherness, caring, listening, and affirming our shared humanity. What an unexpected blessing!