humanity

Conversations About Pie

Stories.


We all tell them. Some of them have more truth to them than others. Sometimes the most horrible stories are the ones we tell ourselves.


But there is no doubt that stories are an integral part of human civilization.

I learned long ago, for whatever reason, people tell me their stories. I’ve written before about stories, and if you like, you can also read Everyone Has a Story and The Stories We Tell and the Stories We Don’t.


Yesterday, I met a man who shared part of his story with me. It was a polite, casual conversation, but the significance of it was not lost on me. Stories are life. Stories are recollections of where we have been, and guidance for where we are going.


So, I met this man at the grocery store. He is an older gentleman, and he skillfully, and mindfully places my groceries into my reusable Chico bags. Then he surprises me when the transaction is complete. He takes the cart that he’s placed my bags in, and heads for the door.


He’s going to take my groceries to the car for me!


I should mention that I am currently in Florida, and this man works for a chain of grocery stores called Publix.


If you have not had the pleasure of shopping at Publix, I highly recommend it.


I said to the man, “I haven’t had someone take my groceries to the car since I lived in the Midwest!”


He replied that it was one thing that sets them (Publix) apart from other stores.


At that, I chuckled as I said, “Well, that and the best Key Lime Pie I’ve ever had!”


The conversation then progressed to how lemon meringue was his favorite and Publix’s version is not quite as good as a chain restaurant he frequents.


He then told me about his time as a cook in the Royal Navy, and how very fresh ingredients make all the different in cooking, as well as in pie,


This man shared part of himself with me, and spoke of how proud he was to have spent 16 years (so far) working for this company because of what they give back to people.


I got so much more than just groceries delivered to my car. I got a reminder of the goodness of humanity. I received, just a glimpse into the heart of a man who loves lemon meringue, and being of service to others with grace, respect, and kindness.


I think I would have enjoyed a much longer conversation with this man. I have a feeling he has an abundance of interesting stories. Yet I am truly grateful for the experience, and for the small reminder that goodness abounds in this world, simple pleasures, like a favorite pie, can brighten any day, and that when we are brave enough to share just a little bit of ourselves, authentically, we are often rewarded beyond measure.


And, I should have picked up one of those key lime pies while I was there…

Christmas Eve Travel

 

The Super Shuttle picked me up 10 minutes early. A pleasant, stress-free ride to the airport.

Got through security in good time.

Several people smile and say how much they like the flashing Christmas light necklace...one woman even said that I made her day!

Found some good vegetarian food to take on the plane...oh! Time to board!

Almost get to my seat when they make the announcement:

“We need two people to get off the plane...we have another flight in six hours. You’ll be compensated.”

I volunteer.

I get off the plane, crew members thanking me profusely.

“Your gate checked bag will be at your final destination.”

Processing the new boarding pass. Processing the gift card compensation.

Staff on the phone: “No, the door is still open. We had a couple going to Brazil that weren’t checked in for some reason. No, they’re on the flight now. Two people volunteered to take the next flight.”

“Thank you so much sir for helping us out! You’ll get an email by this afternoon about the gift card. Here’s your new boarding pass. You know what? I’m going to buy you lunch too!”

The staff is so grateful.

A couple continues their international travel.

The plane leaves the gate a mere five minutes after scheduled departure time.

I’ll see family later than expected, but now there can be some after Christmas gifts too.

I text my wife: “I’m taking a later flight. Almost midnight before I get in.”

She responds: “You’ll be our Christmas gift!”

I find an outlet to charge my phone, and open my podcast app, content.

May you find all the peace and love you deserve (and you deserve bunches, and bunches!) this holiday season!

Regrets on a Thursday Afternoon

Just now, I was sitting in my car, after work, texting my beloved wife. As my car was warming up on this winter day, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, someone approach and get into the car next to me. This was especially noticeable, because I had pulled into my spot front first and this person had backed in, so the person was right by my door as they unlocked their car.

A few minutes later, as I was ready to leave, I noticed the car next to me was still there. I glanced over, and saw a man, wearing sunglasses, with his head leaning on the head rest. I also noticed a single tear trailing down below the sunglasses.

I paused for a moment, put my car in reverse, and backed out.

Immediately, the thoughts started pouring into my consciousness:

I don't know this guy.

I just spent the whole day helping others put their broken pieces back together!

He'll be alright.

I've got things to do...I can't save everyone.

But then another voice came through. The voice of my spirit guides:

What's the matter with you?

You could see he was in pain...help him!

You are a healer! You don't get to punch out at the end of the day!

That voice of truth reminded me...Always on call. Always ready to bring peace. That is the life that chose me. It's the life I have chosen.

I turned around and headed back for the parking lot, but the car, the man, and his pain were gone.

I said a prayer for him. I pray that his pain passes quickly and that whatever caused the single tear I saw resolves harmoniously.

We are creatures of habit when it comes to parking, so maybe I'll see that man again. Maybe I'll have the chance to ask, "Is there anything I can do?"

Asking if everything is okay is stupid...clearly when tears fall, things are not okay.

I know that I've been the one crying in my car at the end of the day. Maybe there's nothing I could do for that man directly. It doesn't matter what causes the pain. Sometimes it's enough to say, "Hey, I get it! Life can be scary and frustrating and confusing and sometimes things just suck. I get it. You're going to be okay. You'll get through this."

If I don't get the chance to say these things to that man, I can at least be grateful for the lesson he unknowingly taught me:

It doesn't take some grand therapeutic or healing gesture to say "I see your pain, and I get it."

It just takes choosing to roll down the window, instead of backing out of the parking space.