Yesterday, as I passed the coffee counter at Wegmans, I noticed a tall man with a beautiful big box, most certainly a cake box. I felt the urge to say something, because I do that. I like to impose myself on strangers at the grocery store because what better thing is there in life to talk about besides food? It was everything I could do to keep from saying, “wherever you’re going with that giant cake, can I come too?” But, I chose to simply smile and get on my way out of the store as I’m on a “no dessert” diet right now and thought it best to keep walking.
But chance took charge of things as it always does, and while I loaded up my car, the next thing I knew, the big tall man with the gigantic cake box stood right in front of me with a glowing smile. Either he sensed my yearning for a glob of icing or he detected how easily I make all sorts of new friends at the grocery store, or maybe he could read my heart and knew I’d appreciate his joy and his story at that very moment.
“Wanna see something neat?” he beamed. He was a great big man, maybe almost seven feet tall, but he looked like a little boy sharing a precious secret. I knew he wanted to show me the cake. And I wanted to see it!
I smiled at him, and he took that as a “yes” and lowered the cake box so that I could see through the clear plastic window.
“Happy 101st Birthday!” it read, surrounded by pastel roses. One hundred and one! I actually gasped at the magic of it. And I asked who was celebrating this great milestone.
He went on to tell me about his mother-in-law who is still very much alive and kicking, who very much loves gambling on her own at the Sands casino and who clearly, from his description, leads a very active and spirited life. He spoke his words with a beautiful pride, his love and admiration for this woman so present and concrete.
I couldn’t have been more genuinely happy for him or more touched by his exuberance. And he couldn’t have known how much his joy and his generous sharing of it transformed my day.
He couldn’t know that behind my smile, all sorts of fears, anxiety, and frustration have been stealing my attention. Feelings hanging on me because of friends and family being dealt a really crappy hand. Life’s curveballs at their worst. Situations touching the lives of three very special people in my life. Situations I can’t help.
I don’t do helpless. Being the sort of person who needs to fix things, an eternal optimist, I have been really dumpy lately, feeling crippled, not able to do anything to make it better, even unable to find any words to offer these special people in my life.
Talking to this man with his giant cake as he beamed from ear to ear about his 101-year-old mother-in-law turned me totally right-side-up again. His joy and his moment lifted me up and shifted my gears. It was a beautiful, inspiring, glowing, and happy minute.
In every day we must seek out and savor these heart-glowing gems. The ones that are sweet and teeny-tiny in the great big picture of things but that serve a life-altering, perspective shifting purpose just the same. These moments are everywhere, even amidst the craziness of Wegmans on a Sunday.
We must not only seek them, we must create them. For others. It’s not hard. Sharing our own happiness or even a smile casts a ripple effect on the people around us. We’re all walking around carrying some sort of reality of life that makes us sad or worried. No one is free of that. So, as important as it is to seek out those wonderful moments of our day, we must remember just how easily we can give those moments to someone else. Anyone else at all.
So, today capture the good stuff, the moments of beauty and joy, the moments we laugh out loud. The tiny pieces of our day that, if we allow them to, will cast out shadows or fears, or at least keep them at bay and put them in perspective.
This quote has been a part of my life for a very long time. Clipped from an Oprah magazine, I think. It used to hang on my fridge but now is in my inspiration station, and I found it fitting to add to this little story.
Caretake this moment! Wishing you spirit-filled, joy-infused moments today and every day.
Gretchen Klinedinst Furst 2018