True Beauty is Raw

Once I visited Chicago. It was over ten years ago. When Chicago was famous for its south side. The dark side, where police did not want to go, where “the whites” would not venture to.

If you stood on top of the Sears Tower, the highest building in the city at that time, and looked in the direction of the south side, you would see… space, filled with shadow, yellow and grey colours, smaller buildings. It was like a different reality, when compared with the rest of this luxurious at that time city. It was ghetto.

The south was interesting.

I had never divided people based on their skin colour, or race. These factors are illusions. What really matters is not the intelligence, but the heart and mind.

I wanted to go there.

One day in fall, the decision was made. I was going. Alone, in the later afternoon. I jumped on the tube, and went into the South side of Chicago. With every stop of the train, the number of “white” people was dropping, and the remaining looked at me with a question on the faces. When all but me left, the remaining “blacks” smiled, looked at me, and we continued travelling deeper into the south.

Several metro stations later, I decided to go off the train, into the open space. It was still the day time. So I could feel the atmosphere. The day was sunny. I was joyfull, and so curious.

When the night came, I needed a place to sleep, and made a quick decision: “I am staying with the homeless, at the shalter house”. But it was late, around 11 pm, so when I came there, there was a bed for me,  but no bed linen. All the homeless women and men took their blankets, bed sheets, and all I was left with, was just a rubber mattress.

The shelter house manager lead me to a women’s room and showed me the place to sleep. I took a quick shower, and tried to fall asleep, in all the clothes I had on. It was a cold night.

Too cold for a girl accustomed to sleeping in a cosy and warm bed, with beautiful and protective covers. I was shiverring out of cold…and could not fall asleep.

Hour after hour, I was waiting for the first morning hours. The cold kept me awake.

Then, suddenly a women who was sleeping on the bed next to me stood up, and took the blanket she was covering herself with against the cold, to give it to me. She saw my shiverrs, and gave me all she had, to stay in the cold herself. No blankets, just the poor clothes she had.

It was an elderly black homeless woman.

I found her in the morning, when all the persons staying in the shelter had their breakfast. I approached her, and wanted to thank her, to give her some money.

Her tired and sad face showed a reflection of a distant smile. She did not take anything from me, not even a cent. Only smiled and left.

To this day, I remember what she did, and bless her inner beauty. That cold night and morning, she helped me see, that the beauty of life may be found in togetherness, and that even in darkest moments you can be blessed by the light of other person’s beauty. And this light is the reflection of a true world, that is out there, when we see the world through love.


woman in leadership

woman in leadership


On the dark south side of Chicago, in the shelter house for homeless, I found the rarest diamond of human beauty: compassion without expectation.

I will forever keep that woman in my heart and thank her for what she did.

She was a true leader, inspired by a situation, guided by the heart.

Leave a Reply