hair/makeup- Harley Chapman
Pictures- Mallory Fraughton
I've been trying to be more aware of my surroundings. Mostly, of the other people that are in them.
It's a novel idea, really, to pay attention to other people than just ourself as we hurry and scuffle throughout our days. Somedays I'm awful at this, and then I usually feel kind of awful about myself because I get too caught up in my own problems and life and whatever.
I took the kids to lunch after a long day of errands this week. It was sort of my peace offering to them. Here's a cookie, thanks for being so good while we ran around the moon today.
The line for our food was long, I was impatient and danggit I wore the shoes that I always tell myself not to wear again because after a while they hurt so bad that I look like something is seriously wrong with me while I try to walk in them. It was loud in there, too, which I always hate and crowded places aren't my favorite places to be. I was very much consumed with just wanting to get our food and leave.
A lady was in line behind me, the only one who seemed to be there alone. She had on a uniform which I quickly recognized to be a uniform of the armed forces. Her hair was pulled back tightly, and she had on combat boots. She must be a brave one, I need to thank her for her service.
I kept having that thought repeat itself during the reminder of the 15 minutes in line.
For some reason, I chickened out. I made the excuse that I didn't want to embarrass her, or I didn't want her to think I was weird, or… or… or…
Nothing of substance gave me a valid excuse to not credit her value, but for some reason I got timid. This usually doesn't happen to me. I had the thought to pay for her lunch, but kept rejecting it too.
When it was time to pay for our food, it was like a magnetic force pulled me back to this woman.
I found myself turned around, face to face with her.
Can I see your tab? I asked.
Oh, sure! She answered, confused what the crazy blonde lady was doing.
I am paying for your lunch today. Thank you for your service to me and our country.
You don't have to do that, she said.
I know, but I want to. You deserve it.
Then she said it. The sentence that will play in my head for the rest of my life when I doubt helping someone else again. She told me her story.
This couldn't have come at a better time. My husband is serving in Guam and I dropped off our son at Kindergarden for the first time today. I've been feeling quite sad and very lonely.
I hugged her.
I've learned that we will never know other people's stories, and we don't need too… we just need to let them know that we are there and they are appreciated. People are put into our paths every single day. Many of which, I believe, are placed there because we have something that can help them. Or, they have something that can help us. Connecting with each other brings purpose.
I had a great rest of my day because I was so filled up by that experience.
And I am grateful I didn't let it pass me by.