We live in a world of fake smiles, plastic body parts and cheap knock-offs. We’re so used to it that sometimes we can’t tell the difference anymore.
It’s part of our relationship patterns too.
We see someone we know out shopping and toss, “How are you?” at them anticipating the obligatory reply:
“I’m just FINE! How are YOU?” (Said with a deep southern accent and wide, lipsticked smile.)
But then something unexpected happens.
She says, “I’m having a hard time. I’m struggling. This week has been really stressful.“ (Spoken in a whisper, through tears.)
And I’m faced with a choice:
Do I shut her down or draw her out? Do I recognize the courage it took to be honest or do I dismiss her openness as inconvenient and inconsequential?
Me, I’ll take genuine, every time.
I will stop, find a quiet corner and allow her to share as long as it takes. I will pray or listen or hug or console until the storm passes.
Because that has been, and still is, ME sometimes.
Before Dominic left us, if you saw me in the grocery store you would have gotten the answer you expected. My eyes on my list, my head filled with the next thing I was going to do when I left with my buggy full, my heart unbroken and whole-who’s got time for chit-chat?
Smile and wave was standard practice as I moseyed on down the aisle.
There is nothing, NOTHING, more important than people in this life.
If you want proof, ask a bereaved mama.
Because no one knows with more certainty, with more clarity and will tell you with more conviction that MORE TIME with someone you love is the ONE thing you would give EVERYTHING for-in a heartbeat.
So I will lay aside things and chores and to do lists.
I will give up entertainment and ignore the urge to check Facebook or Twitter.
Because the person in front of me is a gift.
And I want to unwrap that gift and be present for every moment.