The other day I did one of my absolute favorite activities and went grocery shopping with a 5 and 8-year-old. Summer is a time of unity showcased by my two children every day and I love taking them everywhere I go. Can you hear the birds singing right now? Sooooooo…as they were fighting in the cart (because it is the best idea to allow a 5 and 8-year-old sit in a cart) and I was struggling to concentrate on finding my items on my list, an older gentleman kept passing us by. It was loud and chaotic, and as I was screaming at my children in a whisper to knock it off or I was going to make them really regret their future, I couldn’t help but notice this old man.
He looked about 80-90 years old, a bit spacy, and snot was dripping from his nose. As he shuffled past me in the 3rd aisle we happened to be in, something in my mind urged me to ask him if he needed help. Now mind you, I’m stressed, my kids are being ridiculous, and I have ten minutes to finish up my stuff and get on to the next mundane task I had for the day. I was like, “Seriously???? I can’t stand my children, I’m stressed, what possibly can I do for this guy?” Yet I felt the nudge again.
I left my kids fighting by the ice cream cooler and turned back down the aisle and approached the man. He was so zoned out and staring forward while leaning on his cart, that when I asked him if I could help him find anything on his list he drooled his way out of his catatonic state and shifted his eyes to me.
“Oh, I’m okay. Thank you”, he said, “I’m just working through my list.” He chuckled a bit and said, “Very slowly as you can see. But, I’ll get through it.”
I replied, “I just wanted to make sure you didn’t need any help. Lists are such a pain sometimes!”
As I walked away he said, “Honey, thank you. Thank you for checking on me. I appreciate it.” I turned back and rested my hand on his shoulder and said, “Of course! We are in this life together!”
It got me thinking today as I’m struggling to feel positive about the world. We have to be careful in the midst of all this fighting, finger pointing, hate spewing, and shouting from our soap boxes that we are in this together. I was surrounded by chaos the other day with my children, rushing through life, fighting the urge to crawl into a box and never come out, when I felt the desire to check up on an old man in the grocery store. Did I end up helping him shop the rest of the way? No. Did I change the world in a moment? Perhaps in a small way. What if the only point was to let him know I saw him? Someone noticed him in the middle of a dark and angry world full of children fighting in a grocery cart.
A division is the Devil’s playground – be careful when you are playing in the sandbox. We must fight to keep the unity and positivity flowing. We have to be aware of our surroundings and never stop reaching out to people walking by us. It is good in this world. I’m hopeful. Let’s be vigilant.
We ARE in this together!!!