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
fedand 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
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.
Let your light shine!