One day many years ago I got on the local train in Helsinki. It’s not a very unusual event. This time I sat opposite a man who looked a bit rough. He was holding on to his beer can. Gaunt and very thin, he looked at me. I smiled and he said: “You are so radiant”. I thanked him.

He then opened up and told me he was going through a very difficult time, had lost his family and started drinking. He said he didn’t really want to drink but it was the only way to numb the pain as he no longer wanted to do drugs. I listened. He said: “Wish I was stronger, Wish I didn’t feel so bad.”

After a moment’s silence he spoke again and said: “Well, we do live in a benevolent Universe… I really want to learn to listen to my heart again and stop listening to my mind because I create my own reality.” Don’t we all, I said. We talked a bit about that. He said truth is too painful sometimes. I agreed, but also said truth is so liberating.

My stop was approaching. “Don’t let the past dictate your present”, he said. “You have given me a gift of your time. I am so thankful for that. Don’t ever forget that.” As the train was pulling in at the station we hugged. He had tears in his eyes as he couldn’t remember the last time he was hugged by another human being. We then said good bye and I got off the train feeling like I’d been touched by the divine magic of life. I don’t know what happened to him after we connected briefly. I just have to take it as it was and let go of the story; a lovely story of what it means to be human.


Sanja Fagerström