About a week ago, before I left for a semester abroad in Ireland, I was hanging out with some close friends at my university (Augsburg College). They had shown me their rooms and their layouts and, overall, seemed very excited for the school year to get going. Having lived with many of them in that very same apartment not even half a year ago, I admittedly felt somewhat out of the loop.
A few of my good pals were drinking and offering me drinks as well, which I painfully refused by better judgment because I still had to pack and prepare for an international flight I would be on in less than 48 hours. We talked of all the fun they were all going to have during the school year and I told them how excited I already was to get back and “party man!”
It wasn’t long before someone decided we needed to attend the on-campus dance party that was going on. So we went and we danced with the bass bumping and the music blaring. I knew it should have been a fun time, but I found myself only wanting to escape; to be away from the loud noises and the people and, really, the whole world.
I slipped out of the dance party rather quickly and under the excuse that I just really disliked the song “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry (that really wasn’t a lie though, it’s a pretty bad song to try and dance to). I made my way stealthily from the room, out the entrance of the main building, and into the park across the street where I sat myself down on a cold bench and attempted to remove from my mind the fact that my life would be changing drastically in a matter of days.
I sat there for about half an hour unsuccessfully clearing my mind when a man approached me. It was approaching dusk and for all I knew I was the only one in the park at this point. So I stiffened myself up and shook off the hunched position I had slumped into.
The man stopped a few feet from me and asked very simply, “Can I share something with you?”
I hesitated for a half-second, having not expected for the man to ask me such a question and so openly, with no introduction whatsoever. So I smiled and told the man that yes, he could indeed share something with me.
He began, right off the bat, by telling me that the previous week he had been feeling down and depressed. Certain relationships were not going well in his life and he was very unhappy with his family situation. I began to think that the man just wanted to vent to me, and I was okay with that because we all just need to “let it out” now and then.
The man continued on and I continued listening and nodding and sympathizing because, in my current state, I could most definitely relate to feeling down and depressed. After a minute or so of sharing with me his misfortunes he paused for a moment and sort of stood up a little more straight with a brighter expression on his face.
He told me that his brother approached him in the midst of his trials and told him something that he would never forget, and that inevitably broke him from his cycle of feeling downtrodden. With a smile forming at the corners of his mouth he said, “Do you know what my brother said to me? He told me to remember that song by the Beatles, ‘All You Need Is Love.’ ”
I smiled at the man and shared a laugh with him. I wasn’t sure at the time why I was laughing but now I know it was purely out of irony. I am by no means a religious person but there are certainly some occurrences in life that make you wonder. I think that the man was acting as some sort of guardian angel for me, sent in that instance to me by some higher power, whether that be God or Love or whatever, you name it.
The man told me very simply that he just felt he needed to share that with me because it meant so much to him. I couldn’t tell you for sure if he knew how much it had meant to me too, but I shook his hand and he walked away with a smile on his face and a bounce in his step and, a few minutes later, I did the same. I was restored with confidence in humanity and in the overall journey of life, and was able to go have a fun night with all of my good friends before going abroad.
I know there is a message in this story but I can’t tell you what that might be for you. For me it is a message of spreading positivity, especially to people you don’t know; you never know when your words or actions could make a significant impact for the betterment of another person’s life. It is also a message of love. In all of my anxiety and worrying I had overlooked the fact that I was so lucky to have all these great friends in my life, whether I was going to be away from them for awhile or not.
“All You Need Is Love,” the man told me. Well I had all the love I could’ve asked for, I just needed someone to point me back in the direction of it. I don’t know who that man was and I probably never will but I thank him immensely for approaching me, a stranger, and sharing what was on his mind and in his heart.
DANNY P WRITES