in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Monday, April 16, 2012

crossed paths

a baby on a mission.

it is so easy to have my blinders on as i go about my day. i look only forward, at the goal ahead. it doesn't matter what that goal is - get john to school by 8:30 so he can eat breakfast; finish this report so i can turn it in on time; hurry to the bank so i can get back to work - i am in a tunnel, walking straight forward toward whatever light is ahead, just moving through the task with no glimpse at what's around me.

but lately, i feel like i am being nudged to look around.

the jogger
when i worked at the credit union, i had to be at work at 8am. now that i work at the mall, our office doesn't open until 9am. on those days that i don't go to the gym, it feels like quite a luxury to be heading to work at that hour. so when i see a man about my age, out for a run at 8:45am, i find myself thinking, "must be nice."

i think, "i sure would love to be able to go for a run this late in the morning." i think, "must be a nice life, not having any responsibility keeping you from running whenever you want." i think, "must be nice, setting your own schedule and not worrying about making it to work at a specific time."

i don't like this "must be nice" part of me. when i hear her voice in my mind, it is a flag to examine what i am thinking, to find the fallacy, and to change my mindset. 

so i think back not so many years, to a time when my husband would have had the "freedom" to go for a run at 845 am. and that was because he had been downsized and didn't have a job. that was because he had no way to make a livelihood, and so he felt small and worthless because he couldn't provide for his family. that was because he didn't have anything else to do, at the moment, but wait for the phone to ring.

"must be nice" lady shut up pretty quick. instead, i looked at the jogging man, and i thought, "enjoy your run, sir. i hope it's nice to be able to run at this time. and if it's not, i hope you have something to keep you from this run soon."

the drinker
that same day after i dropped john off at daycare, i decided to make a stop at circle k for some caffeine. the man ahead of me in line was purchasing two big cans of beer in paper bags and a pack of smokes. at 8:45am.

another kind of voice spoke up this time. "what on earth are you doing with your life, that your morning convenience store stop isn't for coffee or soda, or twinkies and donuts. but for booze and cancer sticks?"

but i don't really like that judgy voice, either. it's none of my business what his purchases are. and for all i know he works nights, is just finishing up his shift, and is looking forward to a relaxing "evening" after work. i don't know his story, so i won't assume. i just mentally wish him well and hope he's not opening those brown-bagged beers until he gets home.

the giver
this morning, i made another caffeine-searching stop at circle k. (i really don't do that often, despite what these stories would tell you to the contrary.) as i approached the counter, a well-dressed older fellow was in line ahead of me. he waved me up to the counter, saying, "go ahead, i've already paid for mine!" as he held up his matching ginormous coke for $0.75 including tax.

so i stepped forward, my "purse change" rattling in my hand as i look to the cashier. the gentleman at the counter said to me, "as a matter of fact, i'm going to pay for yours as well!" and handed his pocket change to the cashier.

at first i demurred. "oh, you don't need to do that!" i said with a smile.

but he insisted. "no no, it's a small blessing. you can't receive blessings if you don't give them. be blessed today!"

and i smiled. i said, "well, thank you, i am blessed. and i will pass it forward, i assure you. thank you."

and i got back in my car to hustle back through my "tunnel" to hurry to back to work.

these chance encounters have been rolling around in my brain. i've been thinking how as we go about our lives, these people cross our paths for just a moment. our lives intersect for the 30 seconds or so that we occupy the same space. i may never encounter any of those men again, but for a brief moment in time our lives were the same.

and as i drive around, and look at each car that drives past me, at each house i pass, at each workplace and church and theater and gas station and pool hall and bar and donut shop, i am utterly dumbfounded by the enormity of the lives around me. 

each person has a path they are traveling, a whole LIFE they are living. mine is just one drop in a bucket full of lives, overtopping its brim with LIVES. with stories. with journeys. we live in a spaghetti of intersecting paths, entangled amidst one another. and that's somehow humbling, inspiring, exciting and terrifying to me, all at once.

thank you, my momentary friend at circle k. your $0.75 purchased a blessing for my heart, some perspective for my mind, and a great deal of food for thought.

1 comment:

DeAnne said...

Thanks for the perspective Jess. A welcome reminder for us all.