The Friday File: Incense & Inspiration

incense sticks

I must say my experiences with lesson learning and meeting some amazing souls continues to occur.  For example, this morning I had such an incredible chat with one of these profound people that I literally could not wait to get home and write a post about it!

There is an older gentleman who, on occasion, sets up a wee box by our local train station.  On display are various boxes of incense; you know, the fragrant sticks that permeate the air with scents of patchouli, sandalwood, and cedar.  He isn’t always there; however, this morning I caught a waft of sandalwood in the air and knew he was close by.  I thought to myself, should I just keep walking as I usually do, or should I stop and say hello.  Oh, I wanted to mention that last summer he saw me wearing a purple shirt (my favorite color) and he said, “Everyone is wearing purple today.”  “Are they?” was my reply.  “Yes they are, and I don’t know why,” was the gentleman’s response.  He continued:  “Purple is a very spiritual color; people born in October are said to be very spiritual.”  My curiosity was peaked.  I told him my birthday is in October; he told me his is too.  “My birthday is October 28th,” he commented.  “Well that’s a coincidence, so is mine!” was my response.

Now, back to this morning; (or should I say, ‘but I digress?’)  now, with this information, I approached the incense man and said, “Your birthday is October 28th!”  I think it quite startled him, and after a few seconds of silence he replied, “That’s right, how did you know that?”  I reminded him of our conversation last year which made him smile.  Wearing a bright yellow crocheted hat against his greying hair, I felt compelled to chat more with my birthday friend.

He told me his name was, “Ankh, like the Egyptian symbol.”  Ankh sat with his back pressed up against a wall, eyes squinting as he tried to avoid the direct sunlight beaming down onto his weathered, wise face.


Ankh shared with me he prefers to live outside, although he felt it might be a good idea to find somewhere warm in case he had the ‘need’ to go inside for a while.  He mentioned there is a female friend of his who has some physical challenges.  He assists her by cleaning, fixing, and repairing things around her apartment; and yet, expects nothing in return.  What he said next quite surprised me, I must say.  Ankh noted he was all too aware this woman was taking advantage of his kindness, but realized it was his choice just like everything in his life.

I commended him for his thoughtfulness, but I felt it wasn’t fair of this person to take him for granted.  He smiled, and told me that everyone does everything for a reason, including this woman.  Even though he didn’t know her reason for taking liberties with his thoughtfulness, he figured she needed the help more than he needed to know the, ‘why’.

Ankh went on to describe his belief in getting what you need when you need it.  Simple philosophy of life.  He told me he didn’t need much, but when he does, it shows up.  “The Universe always gives me what I want, but only when it’s the right time,” Ankh remarked.  Ankh remembered that a few months ago he needed a certain amount of money for something.  “That very next day, I was minding my own business, when this man came up to me and pressed something tightly into my hand.”  Ankh continued:  “And you know what? It was sixty-five dollars!” “Right out of nowhere this man gave me sixty-five dollars!” “I knew it was a lot ’cause I looked down at my hand and I could see a two-zero on one of the bills sticking out of my palm.”

Practice Kindness

I reached into my purse; I could only find two one-dollar bills.  “Ankh, it’s not much, but please take it,” I said quietly.  He told me I didn’t have to do that; he eyes immediately gazed towards the incense boxes sitting beside him, and he motioned for me to take one.  I replied with a thank you, but that wasn’t necessary.  I’m going to try not to tear up (again!) while I share with you this next part.  Ankh:  “Thank you; I will have a gift for you next time I see you, maybe just before our birthdays.”  “I don’t know what it will be, but I know the Universe will make it show up so I can give it to you.”

What on earth do you say to kindness like that?  As cliche as it sounds, and I’ve been known to be the queen of cliche, but truly I was speechless.  Ankh got up from his spot, and I asked him where he was going.  “Oh, see that phone store?” The nice lady in there lets me charge my phone.”  “It’s a cheap phone, but I like having it in case I need to call my friends.”  Ankh continued:  “She has a charger that she let’s me use, so I don’t need to worry about losing it or someone stealing it from me.”

I told Ankh to have a wonderful day, and that I’d be back to check in on him soon.  He said that would be fine, and that we can wish each other a Happy Birthday in October.  I most certainly shall do that, Ankh; with pleasure.

Mother Theresa Quote

  44 comments for “The Friday File: Incense & Inspiration

  1. August 21, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Reblogged this on georgeforfun.


  2. August 21, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    what a wonderful soul and even greater lesson for life. 👀 ♥ * ͜ * ♥ 👀 👀 ♥ * ͜ * ♥ 👀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. August 21, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Fantastic post, Cher! I hope you see this nice fella again soon. These are the real stories that the so-called news should be broadcasting each day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 21, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Ah thanks so much for that, John! Oh yes, that is for damn sure! John, I had to stop watching the news here in Chicago because it makes me so sad. I think people like my dear birthday twin should be the ones on the news with the viewers taking heed of kindness from those that literally have nothing. All he had was the incense boxes and a beat-up old suitcase. Wish I was a rich philanthropist; I’d make sure at least he had his very own place to stay when it’s cold. Cher xo


  4. August 21, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Oh my, that is amazing! What a touching story, what a lovable soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. August 21, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Wow! Beautiful post and life enrichment! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 21, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Ah, thank you so much! I really appreciate your words! Thank YOU! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 21, 2015 at 7:58 pm

        You’re welcome it is so nice to read about inspiring things like this! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 21, 2015 at 8:00 pm

        Thank you! Truly it was not only a humbling experience, but a HUGE lesson and reminder of the important things in life! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 21, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        Yes! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm



  6. August 21, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    hi Sweetie, more blessings please!

    Liked by 2 people

    • August 21, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Hi dear Niki! Absolutely! Cher xo


  7. August 21, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Nice post. Now I know you were born between October 27 and the 29th. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. August 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    You have a quote from Mother Teresa. I think Ankh was both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 21, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Hi John! I completely agree. I am humbled by this incredible soul. I truly, truly wish I had oodles of cash to at least provide him with a place to call home. However, because that is not my reality, I’ll continue to at the very least have chats with him and make sure he’s okay. Thank you so much for your wonderful words, John! Cher xo


  9. August 21, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    To experience a person such as Ankh must be so humbling, as you mention, Cher. I have never found a person like he. You truly are blessed. And thanks for this unique post today. 🙂


    • August 22, 2015 at 9:06 am

      It certainly was humbling, dear Carol! I’ve never come across a person like Ankh either! Thank you my dear! Cher xo


  10. Stacey
    August 23, 2015 at 2:25 am

    How wonderful to meet someone with such a positive attitude to life. I hope you get to see him again soon. (Just popped over from Teachaholic’s blog party to say hi)

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Hi Stacey! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I hope I get to see him again soon, too. He isn’t always at the train station, but I will certainly be on the lookout for him. Please stop by anytime, and I’m off to check out your blog! Cher xo


  11. August 23, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Hi. I’m here from Teachaholic’s party.

    I met someone like Ankh once. He was my interpreter for a quick three-day job in a middle eastern country. The job itself turned out to be routine, but we really clicked and his company was a great pleasure. 26 years later, my memory of his quiet depth is still a blessing. Whenever I think of him, the word “soul” comes to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 23, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Hi David and welcome to The Chicago Files! Thank you so much for your comments! Ah, did you? I love how you describe him as having, “quiet depth”; that is exactly how I feel about Ankh. And yes, “soul” is precisely accurate about Ankh as well. Cher xo


  12. August 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I love this story SO MUCH, Cher!! Everything about it! And I believe that he will indeed have a special present for you on your birthday!! He teaches many lessons that man…yes…the most important being that we get exactly what we need…when we need it! Much love to you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Ah, thank you so much, Lorrie! I really appreciate it! I bet he will too, bless him. Oh yes, he most definitely teaches many lessons. I love that lesson, too! And he KNOWS he’ll be looked after; and he always is! Much love to you too, Lorrie, Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  13. August 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm

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