To Choose Joy

She carries her belongings in a black trash bag, gripping it in one hand.

Her other holds a sterile glove someone has inflated for her.

The hand balloon as she calls it, is making her laugh.

She wants me to see it.

She clutches the prized possession. I wonder if the nurse or doctor who blew up the hand knows how much it now means to her.

We laugh while the elevator descends.

Today it stops at most every floor. On other days I would be annoyed. My internal self volleying a comment about how I wish we had express elevators.

Today I don’t mind. The conversation with this little girl of 5 or 6 is the distraction I need.

She talks to me about getting her nails painted a sparkly pink, about what she is doing in school.

My eyes wander back to the trash bag and I wonder why this child must carry her belongings like that.

I think about my own three girls and all the purses; the backpacks that line their closets and creep out of their dress up bins.

I know from the worn jacket, the tattered shoes that are most likely to small, that this young lady does not have a dress up bin to go home too. There are no walk in closets filled with more purses than any one child should have.

Her bright smile.

The laugh that fills up the small space.

She has made my day.

The elevator doors open a final time in our lobby and she follows her care taker out. She turns her head to take one last look at me, waves her hand balloon and yells “GOOD-BYE”.

Today I have witnessed joy in its purest form.

I feel privileged for the reminder.

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