I met a stranger today. I knew one thing about him: he will die. The sudden realization that I was encountering a potentially dead body filled me with warmth toward him.
I had never met him before. Two persons in a serendipitous moment of life, unaware of the abyss we face every moment. But this common quality, that we stand together on the edge of the abyss, made me feel like we were one. Isn’t it strange how death “equalizes” all things?
“Stand on the edge of the abyss and when you don’t have any more strength, rest a little and have a cup of tea” (Elder Sophrony of Essex)
Without his knowledge, the stranger I met yesterday offered me a cup of tea. Perhaps he has offered an oasis, a place of rest, where one can connect with oneself. Or it was the Abyss that he was facing that offered me this oasis.
It is probably a most difficult thing in life, to offer yourself as an oasis to the thirsty travelers on this earth, especially because, most often, you do not choose them, but they fall upon “your space” in their wanderings, just like the stranger from yesterday. A bit chaotic, very preoccupied with something that seemed to overwhelm his entire attention, he was there, a human phenomenon unaware of the abyss he was facing. I had no cup of tea ready for him, but he did fill my cup without being aware of it.
“When people tell us things, they do not expect us to correct them, to tell them they are right or wrong. They just need someone to be there for them.”
A wise man told me this recently. In other words, offer them a cup of tea (offer them yourself) before you judge whether they deserve that cup or not.