“Look, look!” The loudness from the dozens of people on the boat was suddenly interrupted. They look up to see a man waving the Lebanese flag across a bridge on the river in Melbourne. As they cruise closer, he shouts, “We love you, Anthony. Say hello to Lebanon. I miss Myeh w Myeh. سلّملْي عَالبَلَد الحِلو (My regards to the beautiful country).
No one knew who he was. The universe worked that he actually misses the boat. The stars aligned so he can bring goosebumps and tears of joy to an already excited Australian-Lebanese crowd. That was his role.
Anthony has his.
After twenty days, during his last gathering before heading back, a veiled woman approaches him, puts three silver coins in his hand, and says: “Thank you.” Her eyes, face, and warmth had so much to say. A whole lifetime of yearning and contentment. Yet, she was good with two words: Thank you. He was surprised, speechless, and did not know what to do. He thanked her and accepted.
"Receiving with compassion, appreciation, and love, is one step towards giving."
Anthony returned to Lebanon with many more gifts from Melbourne and Sydney. The most important one, however, was the feeling that he was home. He felt like a brother, a father, a son, a cousin, and a long-lost Lebanese friend to them. They walked with him, ate with him, talked with him, laughed with him, and cried with him.