Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Beautiful Fog

Everybody has a story.  Sometimes when I'm out in the world I get this rush about how much I love people.  Just everyday people, going about their lives.  I was driving into the Target parking lot--something I shouldn't admit to how often I do--and I saw a guy lift his little toddler out of the cart to put her in the car. Before he put her in her carseat, he tossed her up in the air and caught her, then kissed her face a bunch of times.  It was a simple little moment of joy, that I was lucky enough to catch.  It's those moments that make me feel like people are so beautiful.  Obviously there are a lot of unhappy, unpleasant people, but for the most part, we are all good, we are all doing our best to make a positive impact.  Who knows what kind of life that dad leads.  He may be an over-worked single father.  He may have recently lost a family member.  He may be out of a job.  He may hate his job.  But in that little moment, he was a happy man enjoying his kid.  And to me he looked like a perfect human being.

There's a man that works in one store that I go to pretty often.  Every time I walk in he greets me with a "Happy Thursday (or whatever day it is), young lady!"  He literally almost shouts it.  He'll follow that up with "anything I can help you with on this beautiful afternoon?"  And I end up thoroughly enjoying the store.  He always compliments me on my whistling (which I consider a bad habit).  Every time I'm there I leave in a better mood than when I came in.

My mother-in-law was that person.  She never walked away from anyone without trying to make them feel happier than they did when she walked up to them.  She was this force of nature.  She sparkled.  She loved her family with all her might, and she loved everyone she bumped into.  From the waitress at the restaurant to the stressed out mom on the bench at the mall.  She gave out compliments to everyone she interacted with, she never stopped humming, and she made all of our lives better for being in them.  She was sort of like magic.  I have tried to learn from her.  I try to remember to compliment people I see, especially if they look like they're having a tough day.  I'm not great at it, but I'm getting better.  And when I do it, I feel so good!

Her life was not perfect.  And since her passing four years ago, we are learning just how difficult it must have been at times, and how much she must have overcome to make her kids feel such love and happiness.  She made a conscious decision to be happy every day, to treat people cheerfully, to make the world a bit more sparkly.  It's a simple decision, but an incredibly powerful one.

So the people I run into out there that seem cheerful and happy brighten my day.  They probably have dark times, they surely have had to deal with loss and stress, and they may not be cheerful all the time.  But it spreads like a happy virus.  That moment that they appeared cheerful got into me, and hopefully somebody noticed it in me and it spread to them.  The people who trudge around with a scowl on their face, flip you off when you're driving, grumble when they wait on you or roll their eyes and huff at your kids, they're the ones who need it the most.  I try to remember that they're hopefully not always like that. That they have a story, and on this day it's not a great one.  We all have those days.

This weekend we all share in a tragic anniversary.  Talk about the contrast between the good and evil in human beings!  This weekend I want to remember to enjoy my life, remember that it is a gift.  I walked out onto my porch this morning because A said to me, "look how cool the fog is, mom!" as he's sitting out there in his underwear.  It was beautiful.  He is beautiful.  We are lucky to have our lives, our health, our families.  We are lucky to call ourselves Americans.  We are lucky to bump into people in the world and make a positive impact on them, and allow them to do the same for us.  Tragic things happen in our world and in our lives.  But right now, in this moment, find something to smile about.

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