Autumn stood at a busy intersection in the city. She swayed gently to the lilting tune she hummed. People rushed past with barely a glance. The holidays were almost here. There was so much work to do. She was all but invisible to the masses scurrying by. Her mousy blonde hair attracted no attention. Her simple brown dress had only a few tiny leaves embroidered around her neck in dusty red, orange, and gold. Unless you looked at her directly, you would never see her sparkling hazel eyes with flecks of gold or the sweet smile of her little cherry mouth.
She quietly waved her small hands at passersby, hoping for a smile or wave in return. Few responded. Those that briefly saw her were rewarded and went on their way with lighter hearts and hints of songs on their lips. Some just looked away. Some smiled with pity without really seeing.
Finally, one hapless man came along muttering to himself. He didn’t see her at all and promptly knocked her down. There was no apology.
“See here, miss, watch what you are doing. No one needs a beggar here.”
“I’m not a beggar. I have a gift for you.”
“Leave me alone,” he scolded as he pushed her away and knelt to gather the things he dropped in his collision.
She knelt beside him and laid a small hand on his cheek. “Just look.”
“If you will leave me alone, I will look at whatev…”
His words faded when he looked and saw her eyes. A single tear sparkled like a diamond on her pale cheek. The gold in her eyes shone brightly. She held his gaze for a few moments. Then his eye’s opened. His face fell in despair then relaxed into a gentle smile, his eyes glittering with joy. Never had he been as handsome in his entire life. He blinked. The child was gone, but his life changed. He had seen.
Autumn stood by a busy country church. No one saw her, as before. Families raced and hurried. The holidays were almost here. There was so very much work to be done. She hummed and swayed to her tune. She looked up from time to time, but no drama attracted people to her. She bore no showy packages, she wore no fancy clothes. Her voice was soft and unremarkable. She offered only a smile to anyone who might look. But, they didn’t. A family parked nearby and jostled her as they all tumbled out. The mother fussed and shouted over the commotion. No one heard her either. She chastised her ungrateful brood with her sharp tongue and quick hands. Unconsciously, she started to herd Autumn into the church with the quickening crowd. Autumn touched her face. She paused immediately at the gentle gesture. Eyes of gold held hers. The mother began to weep. Autumn kissed her softly. Peace and joy flooded the weary woman’s soul. She looked up and saw only her family. Noisy little ones quieted to see why their mother had stopped shouting. Tenderness and compassion replaced her harshness. Love began to reign.
Autumn stood under a leafless tree near a refugee camp. There was no hurrying. There would be no holiday. There was no help, no future, no hope. Though her face showed dust, she lifted her eyes and her smile. Slowly a small crowd drew near to gaze at the strange child. A thin child clasped his brother’s hand and approached her. They looked up, hoping perhaps for a bit of food. They came away with a sparkle in their eyes and held each other. She disappeared, but they shared their treasure with everyone. It grew as they gave it away.
Autumn stood alone. Sadness leaked out the corner of her golden eyes. A strong arm rested upon her little shoulders.
“This is not like you, child.”
“This was my one special day. So many would not see. They would not stop. They rushed and jostled and pushed forward to yours.”
“My sweet love, those who live with gratitude every day do see. Those that don’t aren’t rushing forward to my day either. They just rush and stress and fight for what they cannot gain and grasp for what they cannot hold. Neither a life of gratitude and the blessings it brings nor my peace and love come with striving. Both come in the stillness of your heart.”
— By Donna