Posted by: christinelaennec | January 14, 2011

Gift from a Stranger

Teatime, winter evening, Aberdeen

I had an experience the other day after work that amazed me.  It all started with my knitting.  Some people have adverse reactions to seeing me knit, like the man sitting next to me before the Congregational Board meeting who said, nervously, “Every time I see you knitting I think of Madame Lafarge!”  (I assured him I wasn’t dangerous.)  But on the bus after work recently, I sat next to a lady who was very pro-knitting, and we struck up a conversation.

We talked about knitting, its calming effect, the value of teaching it to children, where I was from, having family far away, her grandchildren, and she told me that she had written poems for each of her grandchildren.

Then, just as it was nearly my stop (the bus ride had taken about half an hour), she shared a very personal story with me.  Because it’s her story and she didn’t intend it for worldwide publication on the internet, I don’t feel I can write it out fully, much as I would like to.  But it was the story of a dream that she had as a child, the night that her beloved older brother died.  In her dream she was taken up to heaven – her description was very vivid – and her brother, well and happy, reassured her she needn’t worry about him.  “And,” she said as I rose to get off, “I haven’t worried about him from that day to this!”

You might be thinking, as part of me was, “What kind of person shares their trips to heaven with a stranger on the bus?”  But as I listened to her, I also gauged my gut reaction and decided that she was a very genuine person who, for whatever reason, felt she wanted to confide in me.  After I’d gotten off, she waved at me as the bus went on.

I came into the house feeling as if I’d been given a tremendous gift.  It wasn’t just the story of her dream, which was beautifully told with touches of the local Aberdeen dialect and explanations for foreigners like myself.  It was also something about her presence that was a gift.  She really was an embodiment of faith and positivity.

I hope I see her again.



  1. What a lovely story Christine. It is such a wonderful feeling when you instantly connect with someone you have never met before. Part of life’s beautiful patterns. xx

  2. well, that IS a gift.
    i LOVE hearing stories from strangers… a connection that will stay with you for a very long time.

    thanks for the butter info! i wanted to get back to you but on the first comment there wasn’t a way. on our sticks of butter it is marked per tablespoon. so.. 1/2 cup = 1 stick butter.

    happy knitting and happy BAKING! 🙂

  3. Wonderful story to start my day with.I have to admit that this is one of the reasons I simply love my work.I meet so many people each with their own story…….
    Thanks for sharing this with us…

  4. Dear Barefoot Crofter, leslie and Erna, I’m glad you all understood why I thought this story was a gift!

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