A Tale of Two Strangers

In yesterday’s Tuesday Truth #48, I told you that I had a story to tell from my weekend away. A story about being present and the lessons I learned from those instances.

This is a tale of two strangers.

Or, more accurately, a tale of my interactions with two strangers.

Both stories take place during my weekend away for Miss Sunshine’s soccer tournament in Virginia Beach.

You probably already know this, but when planning for long periods of physical exertion, there’s a lot of thought that goes into the timing and amount of food consumed. Mostly thoughts surrounding fuel for the body, but also about “keeping it down” during all the running. And that’s the context surrounding the first story in which I found myself heading to a nearby food place earlier than the original plan.

While I had planned to go through the drive-thru, one-way streets and strange parking lots made me decide to just get out and go inside. Near the entrance, a young man who was probably in his early 20’s asked me if I could help him get some food. To which I replied, “Sure, c’mon inside with me”. We chatted about the weather, that I was visiting for a soccer tournament, about some other odds and ends, and he also commented “that must have hurt” in regard to my nose piercing. I laughed and said, “at the time, it sure did”. I placed my order for Miss Sunshine and myself and told the cashier, “and whatever he’s having”. He ordered. We waited. Our food came and I handed him his food and we wished each other a nice day.

Here are some lessons that I learned from that interaction:

1. It only takes a few minutes to change someone’s entire day. I changed the course of his day and he changed the course of mine.

2. It costs nothing to offer kindness. Always offer kindness.

3. If somebody needs fed and you have means to feed them…then feed them.

4. I need to learn to be a better conversationalist.* I am good at listening and responding, but whether it’s that I’m an INFP or because my Sun, Moon, and Mercury are in Virgo or some other unique aspect about myself, I am not very good at initiating topics of conversation with strangers. This is why I prefer to write out my thoughts. I could probably even give a speech. And even though most people are surprised to learn that I spent all four years of high school in drama, I spent very little time on improvisation. I like to process what I say before I say it. But I need to work on that for moments of interaction like this one.

5. Despite our differences, we are all humans in need of love, kindness, and compassion.

*One caveat about lesson number four is that you should always be wise about what you’re sharing and always be aware of your surroundings. A good example is the adage about not walking down dark alleyways at night. I was alone and therefore guarded in what I was sharing and was assessing my responses to what he was asking based on whether my safety could possibly be compromised. So while I advocate being kind to everyone, and that in general most people aren’t evil, that doesn’t mean you should ignore good judgment. Trust your gut.

Story Number 2.

My second tale happened the next day. We were in-between Miss Sunshine’s soccer games. We had already checked out of the hotel and had time to fill. After grabbing some lunch, we wandered around a few stores and were about to leave. I was getting something out of the back of the Jeep when an older gentleman said, “Ma’am, I have a story to tell you”.

He told me that he and his wife had just recently married. That they never expected to find love at their age. That they were just talking about how lucky they were…how they were “blessed” and I came walking out to the parking lot and my shirt said “blessed”. I was overjoyed at having been their sign and said, “it’s synchronicity!!”. You all know how much I LOVE synchronicities. He definitely felt like there had been a guiding hand orchestrating their meeting. It was beautiful to get to hear him tell the story and see the love he felt for his wife. I wished them a blessed day and went to watch some soccer.

Here are some lessons I learned from that interaction:

1. Always pay attention. Synchronicities are everywhere.

2. Be approachable. You might learn amazing things or hear amazing stories.

3. Be present for people. If someone is telling you something, really listen. You may not remember everything they said, but you will remember enough and people like to be heard. It helps them to feel seen.

4. If you have something written on your shirt, be prepared for a conversation about it.

5. Time is a precious commodity. Giving it to people shows them that they have value.

I’m sure I could pull out many more lessons learned in each of these brief interactions. As mentioned yesterday, the main point of sharing these stories was to give you a glimpse into what can happen when you are living in the here and now. Both of those interactions required me to present. To live in that moment. And what wonderful treasures were offered by doing just that.

I encourage you to spend time in the now.

Notice your next breath.

And the next.

Smile at the people that you pass today.

Listen to the stories they want to tell.

Offer kindness.

And…

Let your light shine!

Amy

17 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Strangers

  1. I loved both of these stories, Amy, and the lessons you presented with them. I couldn’t agree more!

    However, I find the line “a young man who was probably in his early 20โ€™s asked me if I could help him get some food” has stuck in my throat and I find myself with tears in my eyes. This scene makes my heart hurt. I’m sending you virtual hugs for helping someone’s son today ๐Ÿ’•

    1. I’m so glad that you love the stories, Joanne.

      Thank you for the virtual hug. My heart always hurts when I see people who are hungry or cold. Those are both horrible feelings and I’m glad that I could help just a bit. <3

  2. Hi Amy, Your heading photo is breathtaking! You remind how it is sometimes the spontaneous, unplanned event of the day that changes the entire course of your day, and possibly someoneโ€™s life.

    I very much agree with you, Amy. Synchronicities are everyone and pay attention.

    A beautiful way to start my morning. Thank you for sharing your light.

    1. Hi Erica! I’m glad that you enjoyed the photo. I didn’t have time to take many. The ocean had some big waves. My daughter was disappointed that she didn’t bring her surfboard.

      It is amazing how a little moment can change so much. I love it when I pay enough attention to notice the synchronicities. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope that you’ve had a wonderful day!!

    1. I have not, but I have heard the name. I’ll have to add it to my ever-growing list of must-reads. I’m currently reading “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood. It’s her book 2 in “A Handmaid’s Tale”. I expect it to be chock-full of dystopian horrors.

  3. I loved both these stories, Amy! You just never know when you’re the giving Angel or the receiver when these chance encounters happen. When it’s happened to me I get more from the encounter than I ever feel I give.

    You’re spot on with knowing your surroundings, and not giving away too much. Safety first!

  4. Amy, both of these stories were wonderful. Youโ€™re so right, we all need to be present and mindful as we just never know what or who might be literally around the corner. It takes so little to make someoneโ€™s day and to offer that ripple of kindness that expands. A beautiful post showing your shining light. xx

  5. These are both such wonderful stories! As human beings, we have so much to offer others, and more often than not, it doesn’t cost us a thing. Giving someone a moment of our time can be such a seemingly tiny, yet greatly impactful, gift. And helping those in need whenever we’re in a position to do so just feels like the right thing to do, doesn’t it? It also helps us remember that we truly have so much to be grateful for, all those little things we sometimes take for granted. <3

    1. I think the biggest thing is noticing. Too often, I’m running here and there and I spend a lot of time in my head and miss the little things happening that I could impact. I’m grateful that day was one of those times when I was present and noticing the world around me. I got so much more than I gave from both interactions. We do have a lot to be grateful for. xx

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