“Are you Reiki Rita?” , he said with the utmost excitement and conviction in his voice. Joe was a middle-aged homeless man who lived on the streets of Toronto. I asked him how he knew my name was Rita and more interestingly how he knew I did Reiki. He told me that he had heard about me from someone. I humbly laughed and said, “Well then YES, I must be the Reiki Rita you speak of because my name is, in fact, Rita and I am a Reiki Master as well”. We both laughed. So, this is how I got my name…
About 3 years ago, I got involved with some heart-centered people who dedicate their time and energy to providing homeless people in Toronto with home-made food and all kinds of clothing and blankets they collected from around their own homes and from other generous people. I decided that I would like to experience what it felt like to give of my time by helping them as well. To me it was an extension of the already familiar Reiki compassion I was used to and another way to give back to humanity in some small way.
What I was about to realize is that the homeless people I met that very cold February night, would give back to “me” instead. Before we ventured out that night, all the volunteers met at this one woman’s house in order to get briefed on how the evening was going to flow. Her home was very simple, clearly void of any material influences and very matter of fact. After getting to know her that one evening, I understood where her priorities were and that she was completely focused on her mission towards helping the homeless. The huge pots of home-made soup that she cooked was obviously put together with love as I watched her as she sampled them to make sure they measured up to her perfection before separating the huge pots into individual servings for each of the homeless people I was soon about to meet. I didn’t know it then, but this woman was the first Angel I met that night.
We then were divided into 3 separate groups and instructed on what we were responsible for including which homeless people we were to visit that night, what their names were, what their food and clothing preferences were and which city street corner they could be found on. Then off we went, ironically enough, in our warm cars complete with hot coffees for us to enjoy while feeding these homeless people. I must admit I felt a little embarrassed and ashamed that my circumstances were far more comfortable then the people I was about to meet. Life didn’t seem very fair to me at that moment. I was about to learn a valuable lesson and did not even know it yet.
As we drove, I listened intently while the lead person in the car, typically the one with the most experience on feeding the homeless, would again brief us on who each person was and what their food preference was. As we stopped and met with each one, I was pleasantly surprised about the unique personality they each had. Each one offered some solid life experience and was so interesting to talk to as they shared a little bit about their own unique life story.
One man loved to read and he shared with us all that he learned from each book he read. When I handed him a bowl of home-made soup, he politely accepted it but seemed more excited in the handful of books that another person handed him. I was utterly surprised! When I asked him why he chose to live on the street versus in a traditional home, he said, “this is my home!” and he seemed very content with his answer. In fact, he seemed even more surprised that I would even ask. He taught me a valuable lesson about the definition of simple pleasures and humble existence. This was the second Angel I met that night.
Finally, I met Joe. When we approached his portion of that downtown sidewalk, all his belongings were there but Joe wasn’t. As I looked down on the sidewalk at everything in the world he owned, my eyes couldn’t stop staring at the hand-carved soap characters that were on display for sale. In fact, I picked one up and was amazed at the beauty of each one and how he had such an amazing gift for detail and expression. I thought to myself, “Why was he living on the street?” He clearly had a lot to offer the world; so why would he subject himself to the criticism and judgment of others?
Then Joe came into my vision. The manner in which he spoke and the variety of topics he philosophized about included life itself, religion, money, even relationships (he told me he had a girlfriend by the way. Ha!) had me completely sold on his brilliance and wisdom. Especially when he spoke of his understanding of God! He could quote the bible and scriptures and he seemed to be intuitively guided when he spoke. In fact, I felt his messages brought forth a lost truth about humanity in which he directed to the world in general – but for some reason it seemed to resonate at a much deeper level for me!
At that moment, I dug deep into my pocket and instantly became very grateful for the immediate warmth my cold hands felt while in they were in my pockets. I reached for the last $5 so I could give it to Joe for the beautiful soap carving of Arch Angel Michael that I wanted to buy. Joe then asked me if he could make me something different instead. I felt special. Within minutes, Joe had carved out an amazing impression of Jesus and his Sacred Heart! How could he have known that this simple act of kindness from a stranger would move me to such joy and happiness on that very cold February night?
On the way home, I could not stop talking about that whole amazing experience and about the beautiful homeless people I met that night. It made me reflect and become very grateful for having so much worldly possessions and conveniences available to me and how my life was so much easier because of them.
When my friend, Grace, turned to me and said, “So Reiki Rita, do you think that maybe meeting Joe was no coincidence and that he was actually an angel or even God but disguised as a homeless person?” I smiled in agreement with her and said, “Grace, I’m not completely sure if that was an actual lesson in gratitude and compassion from the Master Teacher himself.”
But what I did know without a shadow of a doubt and without question was that I had met my third Angel that very cold February night…