I thought I was going to the store to buy chocolate. Instead, my mission was to help another person.
Have you ever had a moment where you realized something higher was guiding you? Maybe you called it coincidence, or “right place, right time.” Maybe you heard one phrase that changed you or everything you believed about life.
I had a lovely dinner with my friend in Iowa tonight. Even though I ate light, I ate a ton and was really full. Therefore I was surprised by the strong urge to go to the grocery store. I checked in with my body. Nope, not craving anything.
I decided I had just sat too much and what my body needed was a walk as the clouds reflected the sunset in a deep red hue. Yet, I still navigated to the grocery store.
I stood staring at the chocolate, realizing nothing really sounded good (I know- what happened to me!!!)
Suddenly, a woman started sobbing halfway down the isle. Heart-breaking, life-ending kinds of sobs. You know, like the ones in the movies where patrons get brought to tears too? Where your heart hurts just hearing the sound?
I turned towards her, and watched as people pointedly ignored her. In fact, some walked past pretending they were SUPER interested in things on the shelf opposite her. She lowered her phone from her ear and her head followed, finding a resting spot on the handle of her cart. I’m sure she didn’t even notice the lack of curiosity, compassion, empathy, or humanity around her.
She didn’t notice my approach, so I asked, “Are you okay?” She kept sobbing, and I placed a gentle hand on her shoulder for whatever level of comfort and connection I could offer. Finally, she brought her head up and shared that she just found out her best friend had died. In broken English she told me that once, a long time ago, they were engaged. She didn’t know the details yet as she couldn’t reach the family.
I did what I do best- offered a hug. She fell into my arms and sobbed for a while as I just supported and gave her all the love and healing I could channel through me.
When we parted, she thanked me profusely a few times. I am the one who should thank her. I learned a lot from that interaction. Remembering a time when a stranger comforted me when I was sad in an airport in Ireland, I thought about the power of reaching out to a fellow human (whether we know them or not). Why don’t we?
Are we afraid they will get angry or that we will get caught listening to their ‘sob story’ for hours? Can we not be bothered to show a minute’s compassion for someone in pain? For our friends, do we just say, “Hey, call if you need anything. I’m here for you.” and walk away feeling as if we’ve done our part as we leave them the responsibility of reaching out when they are in the midst of emotional upheaval?
Perhaps instead we give them a short, “I’m sorry” on their facebook page and scroll on as if we’ve really made any difference.
I was reassured that the book I wrote recently about how polarized and scared our society has become to communicate and interact was divinely inspired. Chocolate wasn’t the reason of my journey tonight. Most importantly, I was sent to the store to help a fellow human who needed a moment of understanding, of acceptance, and of unconditional love. Above all, I think we’ve lost our capacity to approach each other with curiosity and openness. Like this SNL skit, we are reactive instead of compassionate.
Don’t we all need compassion and connection? Schedule a complimentary chat with me if you need some support.