‘We emerged from deep under the streets of New York. To our surprise, a tall, dark-haired man came from nowhere. ‘I just know I need to,’ he said.’

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“We met these cherished kids walking up the subway stairs from the 1 Train as we emerged from deep under the streets of New York.

Their grandparents were carrying the scooters, both with baskets on the front containing their precious notebooks and pens, as they wound their way through the city with their hearts and eyes wide open.

We noticed the children not only because of their innocent, carefree beauty but also because they were traveling on an actual wave of joy as they chatted with their grandma and grandpa, running a bit ahead ready for their next adventure.

We just HAD to stop and remark on the fact these kids were a teacher’s dream, they were noticing the world around them and carrying notebooks along for the ride… what could be better?

‘I see you have a notebook there,’ I said to the curly-haired child in front of me as she bounced past us, ‘are you a writer?’

She looked confused for a moment and then her eyes went wide as she realized something new about herself and replied, ‘Why yes, I AM a writer! Want to see what’s in my notebook?’

I thrilled to the tips of my toes.

‘Of COURSE, I do!!’ 

And right there on the city street she plopped down and opened her notebook-and her heart-to me, a total stranger, and shared the gems inside.

Not to be outdone, her brother grabbed his notebook, ‘I am a writer too!’ and opened it to show the others in our group, my wonderful principal and dear teacher friend, who also pored over his ideas, as he proudly displayed all he had noticed and written about during his adventures.

As I sat with dear Chelsea (named for Chelsea Market due to her parents love of New York we soon learned from her grandparents who had raised their own children there) she showed me pictures and numbers and words and offered to draw my portrait if I wouldn’t mind standing still.

I, of course, drew her in return… cementing our friendship.

And then to our surprise, a tall, dark-haired man came from nowhere, his own notebook in hand, ready to share with all of us his drawings from around the city. We saw sketches of parks and people and all to-go cups lined up in a city Starbucks. 

‘I don’t always know what to draw,’ he said, ‘I just know I need to.’

God knows who to send our way sometimes, doesn’t he? This man amazed the kids as they saw themselves in him.

There we stood, unlikely friends totally blocking the stairs to the subway as we focused on each other’s gifts, on the hearts contained in our notebooks, on the wonder of all the ways we were alike.

It was a moment of pure magic.

In just 5 minutes we all became fast friends.

We all have this need to be seen. To be heard.

And the pure sweetness of a child’s heart brought each of us into its circle and without thinking of what it meant or what might happen or what it might look like from the outside we were all drawn in.

When God says to be like the little children this, this is what he means friends.

No one is a stranger. In God’s eyes, we are all friends and family already…connected by our humanity and our smiles and drawings and stories in our notebooks. 

Connected by our hearts if only we open them up to each other. 

And in opening up mine it couldn’t be more full.

There is such power in seeing others in the best most amazing way…in seeing beyond just what is on the surface rushing by us in life.

Your story is important… you are the author of your actual life…share it all with those around you and read their lives as well. 

Chelsea and Ellis (yup… named for Ellis Island, I must meet these parents, I want to be their friends) and our new New York friend whose name I somehow never even learned reminded us all…

We are valued.

We are worthy of being known.

We belong in the world.

We are beauty.

We are all in this together.

We all walked away better after our 5 minutes of magic… those who had given and those who had received. It was all a gift…. a gift we all talked about all night long as we walked the city streets. It was just that precious.

Share your gifts today friends and walk right up to others and tell them you see theirs. You will not be sorry…and you just might bless someone else with your story.”

Courtesy Amy Betters-Midtvedt

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hiding in the Closet with Coffee by Amy Betters-Midtvedt. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

Read more from Amy here: 

‘He’s the kid who never listens the first time. Or even the tenth. His heart breaks because he’s not always sure why what he’s doing is so wrong. But he needs you to hear him.’

‘This is what your knight in shining armor looks like in your 40s.’

‘My wife recently went out of town for a couple of days for work and left me to run this household all by myself. What was I supposed to do again today? Referred back to the list left by my wife.’

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