When you are tuned in to what is happening in the reality of each moment, it is hard not to notice the interconnectedness of all beings. We, as humans, rely so much on so many different atoms and molecules flowing in just the right amount in time and space that it can be completely mind boggling. That being said, the way we treat one another is hugely important in shaping our reality, and, more importantly, shaping our attitudes and moods of that particular day.
Sometimes the kindness of strangers seems, well, strange. Something that rarely happens anymore in our world of texting and emails. Most people walk by with a blank stare, obviously thinking about a moment in the past or future, anywhere but the present. Sometimes I am surprised to get a smile from someone walking past, or a nod. Recently, however, I had two very different experiences with strangers.
A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting in line at the library to check out a few books. I had both of the kids with me in the stroller. The gentleman waiting in line behind me piped up and said “congratulations”. At first, I thought he meant on my beautiful kids, but then he made a gesture with his hands to symbolize a pregnant woman. WHAT. Spoiler alert y’all, I am not pregnant, nor do I look like it. So this is one case where I am totally fine if I never speak to another stranger again. Seriously, as a side note to all males, it is never ever ever ever ever okay to assume a woman is pregnant unless she looks like her water is about to break on your shoe. And even then, do not even mention that part about her, just hold the door open for her or help her with her groceries.
Fast forward a few weeks later, and JW and I were taking the kids on an after dinner walk. I had Caroline in the baby carrier while we were walking down a cozy, sunlit sidewalk. She was laughing loudly at me because she kept putting her hands up to my face and I was pretending to eat her chubby fingers. Suddenly, a woman comes out of her house and stops us and says, “I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you are. My children are all grown up now, but I remember being in your shoes.” MELT MY HEART. It was something I really needed to hear after a long day of parenting a clingy toddler and teething infant. In that case, what that woman said meant more to me than she probably knew.
I don’t know why I wanted to share these two stories. Maybe it is a hidden fascination with sociology and human interactions. Two different people, two different outcomes. Either way, we do need to interact with each other more. Before we forget the common courtesies passed down to us from our grandparents and parents generations. Back when people lived life full of meaning and not full of screen time.