Every week, I get together with my Cursillo groupies at a local Denny's for beakfast to chat about what's new in our lives and faith. Last week, while we were eating and talking, I noticed a black man asleep in a corner booth. He was sleeping sitting up, with his chin on his chest. My neck hurt just watching him. He wasn't dirty or unkempt as you might expect of a homeless man, but he was clearly not having a good day.
When breakfast was over, I stopped by and asked him how he was doing. In an African (I can't place it any better than that - sub-Saharan Africa) accent he told me he was doing OK. We talked a little about sleeping sitting up and how uncomfortable it was. He smiled and agreed, but didn't share his woes with me. Instead, he said with a smile, "In Africa, we have a saying. 'May your road be rough.'"
I guessed the end of the saying. "...so you may learn strength for life?"
He smiled and nodded. A great, big, beautiful smile, too. I said goodbye and God bless and walked over to the cash register and while paying for our group breakfast, I bought him a $20 gift card. I had the waitress deliver it after I left. I figure that made him smile again. It was a small reward for sharing a beautiful saying about accepting hardship with grace and courage.
Update: Here's another blogger who has a bit more on the saying.