It struck me as I exited the women’s room at the rest area while heading south. Strange, I know. She held the door and insisted I come on out. An odd place to recognize what should be obvious. Others… we learn from them and they from us. We become rich as we intermingle with others…even strangers.
At first, I found it unusual that someone would be so adamant about me coming out first. But then I realized how observant and considerate this stranger had been. I was coming out with freshly washed hands that I was forced to air dry, and she immediately realized what I was doing. Instead of jumping into the open doorway, she insisted I come on out. An awareness of others should be commonplace but I’m afraid it is a lost art. Her awareness of me caught me off guard but at the same time humbled me and threw me into my thoughts. I was stirred by this stranger.
I hustled back to the outdoor table where we had stopped for a quick roadside lunch. As I approached the concrete table, I took note of the basket full of assorted foods that would come together as lunch. Our travel blanket was on the table, and we enjoyed a meal without the stress of drive-thru.
Years ago, you could have forgotten about this! It has taken time and specific human connections to develop what John calls my talent to pack a basket and make a meal from randomness. I do not take credit. I’ve been blessed with a friend who is a natural at this. I often observe and admire how naturally she takes the ordinary and makes it exceptional. Without her knowing (maybe even without me knowing), I have learned from her and become better.
We repacked our basket and continued down the highway headed to our vacation bed and breakfast. This is why I always pack my journal. My thoughts were racing, and faces were coming to mind. Faces of those from whom I have learned. Others… both young and old. I began writing quickly as the gifts I’ve acquired came to mind-generational gifts. They are given to us so that we can pass them along to others.
Take It With Stride
A quick wit comes naturally to him. He often lightens a mood and redirects potential negative energy. To notice tension among others is insightful. To be able to offer healing humor is a gift. While I may not acquire his dry humor, I have learned that most of what happens in the day-to-day minutiae doesn’t need to be so serious. Taking what comes in stride keeps us from excess worry and helps us hold on to joy. He’s half my age and continues to show me how to ease the tension.
Don't Miss A Chance
Distraction is often a stumbling block for me. It can derail my good intentions and even keep me from my intended purpose. A quick load of laundry, watering that drooping plant, folding last night’s blanket on the sofa… me trying to get out the door. If I’m not careful, little detours accumulate during the day and leave me wondering where the time went. God wired my daughter differently. She finds quick happiness in a day. Spend even a small amount of time with her and my focus shifts. Throw your hair up, slide on your jeans and let’s go. Little things can wait when there is an opening to be with someone you love. The laundry has never disappeared, and the blanket will be waiting on me when I am tired tonight. She is right. Move on to the joy; dirty dishes never hurt anyone for a day.
Half of a lime, one serving of spaghetti, and ten cooked shrimp. I started seeing these strange little items in my freezer. She was staying with us until their wedding day arrived. It was such a gift of time. We could get to know her, and she experiences life under our roof. All of these unusual findings were hers and quickly became sweet reminders of how a grateful heart beats. There is nothing too small to deem unimportant. Gifts come in all forms…especially food. I’ve embraced some of her practices and how sweet it is when you think you are short one ingredient only to remember that you stashed a little back last go around.
Pass It On
I’ve learned not to deny the way I’m naturally wired. I am a teacher to someone…in passing or out of necessity. Years can pass before we realize we are inspired or enlightened. Just as the sun shines to give life, our actions will accomplish their purpose. Others… we learn from them, and they from us. Generational gifts are curious. I want to breathe them in, enjoy their aroma, and pass them along whenever possible.