Love changes us

Happy October, beautiful someone!

A long time ago, I was taking a fitness class in New York City. It was early morning, a Saturday in the middle of winter. I was going through a seriously bad patch — my husband had decided he was done with marriage. This was a shock, and I hurt everywhere. I remember thinking, “Now I know I have a soul because I can feel it tearing in half.”

I’ve never been good at hiding my feelings, so I’m sure I looked pretty bad. Anyway, after class the instructor walked over to me, put an arm around my shoulder and squeezed tight. Then she turned to me. “I don’t know what you’re going through, but you’re going to be okay,” she said. After all the yelling at home, I think my knees must have given way a little at the gentleness in her voice.

“I want to give you something,” she said.

She reached into her pocket and took out $100 bill which she pressed into my hand.

“This is for you—and only for you,” she said. “Do something nice for yourself with it.”

Before I could say anything, she gave me a hug and walked away.

I watched her, my mouth hanging open, the money in my hand.

I still remember

Everything at home moved fast after that, and I never ended up going back to that studio. Still, divorce, meeting the love of my life, remarriage and two babies later, I remember that day so vividly. It was a moment when I experienced pure love — someone understanding that I was in pain and, like an angel, being inexplicably generous to me, expecting absolutely nothing in return.

I like to think that experience did more than just make an impression on me. It changed the way I thought about love and generosity. It was so powerful that it made me want to do more than just receive love. It made me want to pass love on by looking for chances to be generous in small and big ways.

Let love change us

And reading this story, maybe you do too, beautiful someone? Maybe together we can follow my angel instructor’s example by giving financially when we can, but also by letting a car in on the highway. Smiling at that annoying guy at CVS. Letting the harried mom with two small kids go ahead of us in line at the store. Telling the waiter who brought the wrong drink that it’s “totally no big deal.” Dropping a few extra groceries off at the food pantry. Raking an elderly neighbor’s leaves.

And remembering that love, in itself, doesn’t change things.

Love changes us, and we change things.

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