Today we came across a stranger that we felt impressed to offer a small gesture to. He was so touched that all he could do was shake my hand (the closest to him) while he hung his head and began to cry. As if in shame he quickly turned to walk away, looking back once to thank us with his piercing blue eyes. Already by then, we were both crying, too. Eye to eye, we connected on a deeper level than there were words for anyways. It was so special.
In those moments, I had an overwhelming feeling of all the sadness and struggle in the world. I felt the pain of this man, and I felt the pain of the world. This often oppressive and cruel world we live in. It should not be so hard to get along in. This modern world has gotten so complicated – no longer the Agrarian Ideal that it once was. With the flippant loss of a job, our whole world can be turned upside down.
Because I am a very ‘to-the-point’ person, I’ve been working on being kinder to people. To take the time to connect with people, even over simple and quick exchanges, like paying for a drink at the cafe, or paying the attendant at the gas station. Having done both today, I noticed that niether one connected with me or looked me in the eye. Instead they both went through the motions routinely.
I was not offended. I know that their jobs must feel route. I also know that somewhere in their lives they are experiencing pain. Pain is pain, no matter how big or small we perceive it to be. And we all have different levels of tolerance for it. I find that I can have more compassion for people when I keep this top of mind. And I try to emulate my husband, who is very good at not letting someone else’s behavior change his ideal behavior. I love this about him.
Last night while on our deck on our customary “sunset date”, Mark asked me how I would treat people differently if I knew that the Earth would be doomed in a year. I would take the time to connect. I would turn every exchange into an opportunity to be kind. So this is my quest.
Life is hard. People need a break. This world could be a different place if we were all just kinder to each other.