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Look at Me With an Open Heart

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Reality is often painful.

Because looking with an open heart may imply touching some sore spots. Not only those of others. But very likely your own as well.

A beautifully wrinkled face of an Asian woman
Gouges often dig deep early into faces of Nepali people as a result of an arduous existence (photo credit: greenaperture on Getty Images Signature

The ordinarily extraordinary people of the world

Mundane people and their stories. No matter how insignificant they may appear. They move me. They are the mirror to my soul, which understands and feels.

They make me pause.

Such as when I met a woman squatting by the roadside somewhere in Nepal, painstakingly crushing solid rocks into pebbles with a battered hammer. Her contribution to the surface of a road that may one day reach her village.

Monotonous back-breaking work that puts no more than a meager meal on the table at the end of a long shift. Day in, day out.

And while I kept observing her tucked away behind my motorbike, a tender smile escaped her cracked lips when she finally lifted her tired head. I still wonder where she took the strength from. For those nasty rocks and her genuine smile.

The things we don’t often see

The world is filled with fates like hers that are worth sharing. Yet hardly any of them end up on TikTok, that’s surging our planet like a fierce Tsunami these days. No, these stories belong inside our hearts. To help us awaken. To discern the suffering and misery of others, which they are not responsible for.

A thought sails by.

It could have been me squatting by the roadside, endlessly bashing stones in a futile effort to make ends meet. Or it could have been the stone tapper on her motorbike pausing to watch me do a brutal job.

It takes courage to look at what is. To linger for an instant, to pay attention to an unknown soul, to honor her life the way she deserves it. Because every rock this remarkable woman diligently chisels away is feeding the road.

The road you and I may travel one day. It would be missing an essential part if not for this noble lady hunching by the roadside.

Reflections on a snippet of someone else’s life

I can’t change her life. But she has touched mine. Her story, which I do not know, of which I have only witnessed a snippet, is emblematically also mine.

It talks of a bitter, harsh reality I can’t ignore. And that life’s choices are sometimes taken out of our hands. To recall, we are one, even though our tasks are distributed so unfairly. And that we must never forget to share a smile or the moment we pass it on.

Being brave and with an open heart

The woman by the roadside in Nepal, whose name I don’t know, remains a stranger. We did not exchange a single word. Yet, we met so she could silently convey an invaluable message to me:

Be brave, and look at me with an open heart. Even though it hurts. You know you’ve succeeded once you feel it.

When you fling your eyes and heart wide open, you can greet the world of others with receiving arms. You may be stunned by what you will discover.

Be brave, and look at me with an open heart—a courageous woman from Nepal

Thank you for reading this Roadside Story from Nepal with an open heart and mind.

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