I’m trying to process this brief little interaction I had the other day–trying to figure out what made me smile about it hours later and still.
Simple scene: I go to a locally-owned store in our small city’s downtown area to buy coffee. (Locally owned makes it more palatable to me that I drive down there weekly for a pound of coffee–but we also went to the library, so does that make it better?) The store I buy it from is one of those eclectic-mix, upper-endish type places where you can buy a breezy silk caftan, raspberry salsa, incense, a couch, a winerack, earrings and a pound of coffee. The owner must be good to her employees because they work there forever. But one woman I used to know is no longer there and she has hired a young man who has just started to know me as the crazy lady who comes in once a week for her caffeine jolt.
As I was paying for it, he asked me if I needed a bag. “Oh, no,” I said, “that just dampens the aroma and I really like the smell of it.”
And he just looked at me and cocked his head to the side, only slightly, then smiled and said “Do you have a favorite mug you drink it in?”
I stopped in my tracks and half-whispered back to him, as if I was revealing my bra size, “I do.”
“Doesn’t the thought of that just make you happy?” and he sighed. “People think I’m crazy,” he gushed on, “but sometimes in the evening when I’m watching television I think ‘oh, I wish it were morning so I could drink my coffee out of my yellow mug.” And then he let out the air in his lungs one more time, smiling.
I smiled back, wished him a great morning cup of coffee and headed home.
I haven’t looked at my favorite mug the same way since.
This young man probably is shaking his head, wondering why he decided to share this with the crazy coffee lady. He could never have known the depths of my sadness that morning—the sadness I seem to be carrying without knowing it until I stop, for a moment and let it creep in. But here, this young man offered me a bit of himself, a little story he shared with a kindred spirit, that lightened the burden enough and for long enough for me to meet the next thing.
This is what I talked about when I said in another post that we stumble and others are there to rub our backs and help us up. He had no idea he’d done that. I had no idea I needed it. But there it was. We really are blessed, aren’t we? When we choose to see it?