A woman, standing in a checkout line on the Friday after Thanksgiving, is mumbling about how “ridiculous these lines are”. By the time she gets to the register, she’s yelling at the (likely) minimum wage person moving as quickly as he can. The young man stops (just for a moment) and tries to regroup. He needs this job to help his family have some sort of Christmas, so he forces a smile as he bags all her “priceless” possessions.
My daughter, Sara, is in banking and on that same Friday, she was in her branch when the system “went down”. She got behind the teller line and she and her staff were doing everything they could to help their customers. People started getting really irate—I imagine that it was as if all of their disappointments about life came pouring out—when they had to wait for their transactions to be processed. A man came up to Sara’s window, and angling his body so that he could talk to her, but also be heard by everyone in the lobby, said, “Just take your time. It’s not an emergency. You can’t control this.” Sara thanked him profusely for his patience and understanding. Then, he said (again so everyone else could hear), “I’m 48 years old. I just found out that I have stage 4 lung cancer. This really isn’t all that important.”
silence in a bank lobby
awareness of what’s just been shared
intention by the man who delivered the message
gratitude from the woman he spoke to
and, possibly, anger for those whose anger was silenced
We are choosing…..every single moment.
We are choosing when we smile at someone, or hurl hatred or anger or disgust at them.
We are choosing when we stop to realize what the heck we’re really doing with our time.
We are choosing when we’re our best selves, even when we don’t have an imminent “life expiration date” stamped on our bodies.
Another Friday. Simply one more day in the week for some of us. Extraordinarily, one more day to be alive for all of us. So how do we choose?