So, this morning I was getting my “hair did” at Artistic Hair Care & Design by Michael Jon–easily the most experienced and incredible hair dresser in Winter Park (truly!)–when an older lady took the chair next to me. I inwardly moaned a bit, because she seemed like a talker… you know what I mean, one of those who have the gift of gab and want to talk with you whether you feel like conversation or not! Well, sure enough she started jabbing away cheerfully and I nodded curtly every now and then, thankful when her hair dresser Barbara Dey took over doing the woman’s hair.
Finally I could sit back in peace and let Michael Jon do his work. (Yep, I’ve reached the age where I need those gifted hands to create some major magic with my hair!) At any rate, the talkative lady was now bending Barbara’s ear so I couldn’t help but overhear her story that went something like this:
“Well, I’ve got my brother and his wife coming to Christmas dinner, and my daughter and son-in-law, and I invited a lady I met at the diner. Her husband isn’t living any more and she had told me she was going to spend Christmas with her children, but it turned out her children were her cats, so I just insisted she come. Turns out she would love to!”
Invite a widow to Christmas dinner? Hhhmm…. I suddenly felt very small for acting snippily towards her. I felt even worse as she continued telling her story to Barbara:
“You see Frank and I eat at the same diner each Tuesday, and there she was waiting on a table, too. She looked to be alone so we just asked her join us. At first she didn’t want to impose but I insisted. We had a wonderful meal and we’ve invited her to join every Tuesday if she wants.”
I couldn’t ever imagine asking a perfect stranger to join me for a single meal, much less making a weekly date out of it! The story continued:
“When my daughter found out she was coming, she wanted to get her a present, but I thought it might make her a little uncomfortable to be in a new house with all these strangers giving her things. So, I told my daughter not to. I will give her a little crystal angel, just for it being Christmas and all, but that shouldn’t make her uncomfortable, do you think?”
Then I felt it… something had changed in the atmosphere of the salon… I knew I was sitting in the presence of a woman far greater than me. Suddenly I was honored just to have heard her conversation.
I am thankful there are people like her in this world; those who go out of their way to help perfect strangers.
After she left I mentioned this to Michael Jon, who agreed and then told me the lady was a teacher at Lighthouse Central Florida, helping those who are blind learn to read Braille. Somehow I could have guessed she did something like that!
So, the next time somebody wants to strike up a conversation with me, I will be much more willing to talk back, to share a bit of myself. Perhaps I will be brave enough to initiate the conversation, because who knows what the other person is going through. A bit of kindness goes an awful long way.
I am thankful for the reminder!