The confirmation note that came up on my computer screen when I went to the United States Postal Service web site simply stated "delivered abroad" after a series of notes of how my package got from where I am to where he is. I hope he actually received the package.
He and his dog companion sat together in Wenceslas Square in Prague. While he sat on the bench with his backpack, the small-ish dog with an everyone-is-my-friend smile occasionally tested the limits of the well-worn leash. When the dog, which reminds me of my oldest son's beloved pet, tried to join a group of tourists walking by, the man gently coaxed the pet back and brought the canine onto his lap. And there they sat, two buddies taking in the sights.
The man and I caught each other's eyes and he gestured a question that bridged our language differences: "Would you take a photograph of me and my dog?" I smiled and happily obliged. Communications became a bit more cumbersome after that when he handed me a note with an address on it. Thanks to his minimal English, my non-existent Czech, my minimal German and a Czech dictionary, we made it work. I would send to him the photographs when I returned home to the United States. According to the tracking chart, he received the package on August 7.
When I shared the story with my sons, Dion replied via text message, "I'm imagining a guy who wants nothing more than a picture with his dog. I bet he's Christmas-is-coming excited." I hope he was, and I hope the package of prints that came by Priority Mail brought him as much joy as it did for me to send it.
We never know if the things we share are received in the spirit in which we intend them. That shouldn't stop us from sharing. I hope that the man with the backpack feels better at night when he lays down to sleep and sees a photo of him and his best friend, both smiling at the stranger who recognized friendship when he saw it.
Listen to Life is a free ewsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.