Of the man with the purple beard


[journal excerpt, written 8/3/2016]

On the subway last night, a man with a djembe stepped into our car. Seemed like a pretty normal thing that might happen in New York, until he opened his mouth. I've never felt a more gentle presence than when this man spoke. He said,

"I just wanted to bring you guys a little positivity since we're in such a dark time right now."

His smile was like that feeling in your chest after a long and effortless laugh. The curve of his shoulders spoke "peace, peace, peace". I swear he was a poem with bones and breath and skin. He played Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley. He said that no matter the election, as long as we stay connected to each other and to the creator, this earth will be beautiful. He thanked us for listening. He thanked us for being human and alive and for breathing. The sound of his laugh felt like the early morning wind on cheeks. He laughed often.

"Stay connected," he said, "you don't need to be anything more than what the creator has made you to be."

Apparently (to my surprise) things like this rarely happen on the subway to 145th Street, but I'm so glad to have been found by him in that moment--to have been reminded of the types of kindnesses that have to be chosen again and again, to have been reminded how gentle boldness can be, and how our simple expressions of the kingdom are more healing than we think.

Call me a tourist or weirdly invasive if you want but I recorded a portion of it. You can listen if you'd like.