I recently had an experience where I felt people were unkind to me, and because I am still a bit soft, and it’s only my third holiday since my husband died, and I’m out here in the middle of the world on my own, and probably for a bunch of other reasons, it really hurt. After I cried, I became angry and because I felt like the world was being snarky and mean to me, I decided the hell with being a sweet old lady, so I started snapping at people and taking out my hurt on the world.
Then I was in the hotel elevator with my angry self and a young boy got in with his mom. From the minute he saw me he was so over-the-top excited to be there with me, and he wanted to shake my hand, and he wanted to speak English. He just couldn’t stop dancing around, and waving his arms, and grinning. He said proudly in English, “Good morning how are you?”
My mean self took off running from the light of his smile and I bowed, laughing with him, “I am well and your English is wonderful!” He laughed back at me and his mother laughed and I was laughing and we got off the elevator and waved goodbye to each other, with everyone laughing. He didn’t care that I was white and he was brown, or that he was small and I was big, or that we couldn’t speak in the same language, or even know what to say. This little boy was filled with the joy of meeting a stranger that he could make a friend.
He rocked my world. It was as if a message was sent FedEx from the universe addressed to Rena with the simple question, “who do you really want to be?” I stopped on my way down the hotel hallway and admitted that I really didn’t want to be one of those snarky, cynical, mean people. I wanted to be like the laughing boy. I wanted to be like the other kind, generous, wonderful people I’ve met on the road who don’t care how it looks to be nice, or happy, or wonderful, or how awkward it is to reach out to someone new or different. Those people who don’t mind being gawky or silly, and maybe even at times annoyingly enthusiastic about everyone and everything. I want to be one of those people who can make strangers into friends. As soon as I made that decision I felt light and clear and happy, and I knew I had been truly gifted for the New Year, 2012.