It was a scorching August day in NYC, and my young daughter and I were in Manhattan visiting relatives. We got on a subway car without air conditioning, and it was like entering an oven.
People were complaining. Having been a New Yorker myself for my first 25 years, I was aware that New Yorkers tend to bond and connect through complaining. At least it gets them talking to strangers.
On impulse I chose a more playful, theatrical way of approaching strangers.
My daughter looked on, wide-eyed with wonder and curiosity, as her Dad did his best to model for her that even hot and sweaty moments in a can of sardines subway can be fun.
Nobody put a dime in my hat.
But I did spy a soldier dressed for active duty making eyes at me. He must have been extra hot and bothered in his uniform, yet he did not show it.
In fact it certainly looked like he was the only one enjoying my attempt at lightening the atmosphere, cooling people off through levity, although he was giving me far more eye contact than I was comfortable with from a stranger on a Manhattan ‘Q’ train.
My nervous system braced for impact, as I realized he was coming our way, and was about to speak to me. As extroverted as I am often perceived, anxiety is usually my first reaction to any new encounters with strangers, a reflexive gut feeling brought to you by my ancestors and the collective consciousness of the insanity of humanity.
Someone once said that a stranger is just someone you feel strange with. Whoever that was, they probably hadn’t been born and raised in NYC.
But it was a delightful shock to my nervous system when he smiled widely and exclaimed, “Aren’t you Scott Grace?”
When I said yes he launched into a rampage of appreciation for me and my YouTube videos, especially the EFT tapping videos I had put up. He had been watching and tapping along while on his tour in Afghanistan.
He hugged me right then and there in public view, and his arms were gushing gratitude, patting me on the back, stumbling to find words to go along with his warm feelings.
He found enough words to explain that me and my videos were constant companions on his journey through some very dark and scary places, both geographically and emotionally.
I was so touched I began tearing up, right there on the ‘Q’ train.
I returned his big heartfelt hug with all of my heart in full view of the other passengers, and thanked him for reminding me of the value of what I share on YouTube.
I was so glad that little Aysia was there, taking in every aspect of this delightful encounter. I did not want to pass my fear of strangers on to my daughter. Even in a subway car in New York.
I asked him to tell me a bit about his adventures in the U.S. Army, and he did so generously. Brennan was his name, and he told me he felt guided to join the service to serve, to bring his light into the military.
He also confessed that he was a student of A Course in Miracles, and practiced his lessons faithfully every day.
Recently, after all those years since our subway encounter, I got blessed with an email from Brennan:
“I thought about you today in the field. I had been worrying about a million problems I thought I had to deal with, and thinking of you, I remembered that everything is as it should be, that nothing is wrong. I love you, Sir, and don’t you worry, you don’t have to change a thing.”
I needed to hear that. Remembering that I don’t need to change a thing changes everything! And not only that, he called me Sir!
Brennan, I love and salute you, and I thank you for your courage to serve in the armed forces, and also to use your arms for hugging!
And yes, I will continue to put up YouTubes and serve through my own particular mission, which is to be at ease, and pass ease on to other people’s nervous systems…. at ease, soldier!
I’ve had my doubts about the vast amounts of time and energy (and sometimes money) that I’ve put into making YouTubes, without financial compensation.
And then along comes Brennan, an angel in uniform, to remind me that those videos are making a difference and to keep up the good work.
Here is my YouTube channel if you care to say hello: www.youtube.com/@scottgrace