I don’t know if it’s the weather, or if it’s some silly girly dramatic reason, but I’ve been feeling a little bit down the past couple of days. It’s pretty rare for me to wallow in any kind of self-pity so I think it just makes everything a little bit worse, since I’m not used to it. Without realizing, I’ve been projecting this mood on people around me. I find myself not smiling or saying hi to strangers in the hospital, looking at the floor or at my phone as I’m passing people in the hallway, or just sighing…a lot.
Yesterday was no different. As I slowly trudged towards my car, irritated at the biting cold and exhausted from a crazy day at work, I completely walked past a man I had once briefly spoken to in the hallway, just to be polite. Of course in my rotten mood I wasn’t about to try to talk to ANYONE, let alone a stranger I’d conversed with once. As I passed him I heard him exclaim: “Hi sweetheart!!!” I cringed silently. Oh mannnn, I’m going to have to turn around, plaster a smile to my face and say hi. Right now. When it’s 5:30pm and I’m freezing and I just want to get into my car.
I turned around slowly.
He is this tiny, older, African American man with a round face and a silver-foiled front tooth who does some kind of maintenance work for the hospital, as far as I remember from our one previous conversation. His face was completely lit up and I couldn’t help but crack a genuine smile myself.
“Hi sweetheart! How are you? I’m so happy to see you after so long! God must have been on vacation when he made you! How’s the puppy? How’s dance? How’s….” And he went on, asking me about things in my life that I enjoy talking about. Dance. My puppy, Leo. My job. Another man happened to walk by at this point and he called him over. “Remember I told you about that model/dancer who completely brightens your day when you see her?! That’s her!!”
You get the picture.
I walked out of that encounter with my very own space heater in my heart. It carried me all the way to my car, keeping me toasty warm. I wanted to kick myself for a) not remembering his name or anything about his life and b) walking around like life was so terrible. It’s not. It never is. I’m lucky to have been born into privilege, with food, water, clothing and shelter for every single day of my life. I really have no right to complain about a single thing.
It always amazes me the way these little reminders pop up when you’re feeling ungrateful. Whatever higher power is out there sure has an interesting way of reminding you though. 🙂