Earlier today, I unintentionally came across the following writing in response to a prompt I received from Sara Rendell on September 9, 2013.
We could learn a lot about having an out-going heart by following around Fatima Rhodes in any given week.
We’d hear her scrubbing, vacuuming, sweeping, and polishing the condo of friends who are returning after being gone all summer. We’d see her arrange a vase of flowers she bought to brighten their entrance into their home.
We’d notice her emailing classmates with instructions on how to celebrate another classmate’s birthday that week in class.
We’d smell her delicious cooking in her kitchen, as she prepares Moroccan dishes for people she is having over.
We’d watch her hand over $40 to the post office clerk in exchange for several sheets of stamps, which will be a birthday gift for a friend of hers who is frequently sending notes and postcards through the USPS.
We’d see how much tender and playful presence she gives the children of refugee families at her school.
We’d hear her despair-shattering laugh several times in any hour we’re with her.
We’d observe how much she cherishes her 89-year-old friend when she has her over for dinner and a DVD.
We’d wish it was for us that she is packing up that scrumptious potluck dish as leftovers for a couple of friends.
We’d even be taken aback at how cheerfully she greets scores of total strangers in Forest Park on a Sunday stroll.
We’d wonder how one human being can appear to be so happy.
But Fatima knows the meaning and purpose of life.
She’s my teacher in the way of love, which is generosity, which is availability, which is a heart that is always open.