Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Be That Person
This post has been writing itself in my head this evening, begging me to share. And if it would please send its first line out, I'd get right on it.
It's something about a stream of consciousness, because that's what this is going to be. I've had a good day off. I ran the preschool carpool this morning and decided to stop in to see Miss Ava, our six-year-old friend and cancer warrior. I teared up as she and Luke carried on a babbling conversation and swapped smiles. I was reminded of life's goodness then and shortly after that when I watched her stand, for the first time in a long time, with the help of a clever contraption during her physical therapy session. It was a gift.
I did all the usual things I do on my days off, which means I busted my *^% around the house, conquering dirt and grime, organizing endless clutter, changing diapers, assessing the fact that food in the cupboards, refrigerator and freezer was scarce. I let dinner prep go, admittedly because I was at a loss for what to make. But I spent that hour surrounded by my kids, helping Lily write a play that she and her friends plan to perform at recess tomorrow, marveling at Max's hours of quiet coloring and drawing and singing today, babying Colby because he's needing his momma right now and nursing nursing nursing Luke, who is well on his way to becoming the giant we think he might be.
I did a lot of thinking while I did a lot of driving to fix the food scarceness problem this evening. At the first grocery store, I was aware of the reactions of others around me as I cheerfully struggled to bag my own groceries with a fussing, uncomfortable baby nestled to my abdomen in a front carrier. I was bouncing and singing and stooping at weird angles to grab cans and other objects and pitching them into bags. Some people ignored me, one woman kept smiling at me knowingly, but nobody offered to help.
Outside the store, I loaded the car, returned the cart to the corral and left my quarter, just like I always do. A happy good-looking man, who I perceived to be well-off, was approaching. He greeted me warmly and told me I'd forgotten my quarter. I told him, no, I was paying karma, and that maybe karma would pay me back sometime. At that, he grabbed my quarter and told me "karma" was paying me back right now, to put it in the baby's piggy bank.
At my second grocery store, I ran into a friend and loyal blog reader no less than five times. (Hi, sweet lady!) I fretted about money, noticed how much of my groceries seemed to be landing in my cart at six-dollar intervals, and stretched Luke's patience.
On the way home, I heard a great story on the radio--ok, I was listening to Delilah--about how a group of strangers, somewhere this very day, all stood in a grocery store line behind a young single mother whose food stamp debit card hadn't yet been loaded. The cashier, who sent in the story, said the woman was embarrassed and starting to reload her cart when the person behind her offered $20 toward the cost, and then the one behind her said she'd give $5 and on and on through the line until the woman's grocery bill had been paid.
And that's what I'm talking about! That's my kind of story, right there!
While we live in a society that encourages us to look out for number one, to get the best parking spot, the best deal, the best salary, we all have free will. I want to be the one who remembers, in spite of my self-occupation with all I have going on, to offer to help the person who needs it bag those groceries, to continue to pay karma that measly quarter every chance I get, and to be the one in line who says, "I will help this distraught person pay for these groceries, which she clearly needs."
I want to be that person, and I hope you do too.