It was one of those rare moments. I had time to kill and decided to actually eat a decent lunch.
I chose one of those nice fast-food sandwich/salad/soup places. Waiting for my sandwich in a rare idle moment, I noticed a mother attempting to manage a food tray, stroller with newborn, and toddler through a skinny aisle to a nearby seat. I automatically asked to help, following them to their table with the tray.
Watching her awkwardness, I assumed she was a new mom of two. For me at least, that was a difficult time – transitioning from one child to a toddler and a baby. There were so many times when strangers helped in small ways, but those moments made the difference between managing life and loosing my sanity. Here was the opportunity to ‘pass it on’! I also said a silent prayer for her.
As I left them, my mind was floating back to that time in my own life, only 2 years ago! I was also celebrating a bit, knowing I would not have to do that again.
I returned to pick-up my food, making eye contact with another late 20’s/early 30’s woman. We smiled, my mind and heart still in revelry.
“Doesn’t she know that tights aren’t pants?”
What? Wait… What? Pants aren’t tights? Huh? Who? She must be talking about that mom. She was wearing tights? Someone else?
Is that what she saw? She didn’t see the children, the baby, the woman’s struggle. She saw tights that weren’t supposed to be pants.
I smiled and shrugged. At least she was wearing something, I thought. She even looked like she had taken a shower! A miracle!
What made me see one thing and this other woman something else?
We were standing in the same line, our lives meeting at the same place – yet our perspectives were on different planets.
There was no right or wrong, just different. We were coming from different places.
One simple situation – a mother, two kids and a food tray – and this woman and I went different ways. I was shaken off-kilter by this woman’s remark, not that it was wrong, but that it was so different than mine!
Sometimes we are so blind. We walk around this world, move through our lives, with our own perspectives, somehow thinking others are seeing the same thing we are! Then, when we realize that someone sees it different, we are shaken!
Practicing mindfulness, I sat with the moment.
I let sink in the reaction I had to the comment, my motivations for helping the mother, and my own personal thoughts. I also let sit that I had done the right thing by not responding to the comment that I didn’t understand. We were on different planets, but I was able to learn a little about someone else’s – even if it was only a tiny glimpse.
That simple interaction added to my life, but only because I was mindful. Did that simple interaction help the other women? I’ll leave that to God.
Gracious God, you gift us every moment in our lives. Help us be mindful, owning and living each moment. God, thank you for every opportunity to grow into who You create us to be. Amen.