Present Tense

Keep your dirt to yourself…..

pileI’m in a weird netherworld right now between old life and new life.  We’ve sold our mountain home, so I had to vacate, but due to work obligations, I’m not able to make the move to the new home in northern Michigan.

So, I’m camped out in a residence hotel in a very busy, congested area of Denver, near the radio station where I work.  Although I’m enjoying the conveniences of the city, the traffic and the loneliness is intense.  I miss my husband and our two dogs who have been gone for about two weeks now. They’ve moved into the new house and the new life, while I am in suspended animation for a few more days.

The immense number of cars and people in a large city fascinates and horrifies me.  It’s dawning on me why people are constantly complaining about ‘stupid people’, ‘horrible drivers’, ‘rude people’.  It feels that way when you’re in the middle of controlled chaos day after day after day.  It wears you down; it chips away at your soul.  It can make you hardened toward your fellow humans because it seems like the whole world is in a hurry and you are merely a dot in this sea of ‘me first’.

Well, we are a dot.  That is true.  But, all of us dots form a large chain of connection and consciousness.  There is a rhythm, even in the aggressive chaos of traffic and people moving around the city; traffic and people moving around the world.

I was at Target this afternoon.  Part of my mission was to get out of my cramped room and the other part was a hunter/gatherer mission for food.  I wandered a bit, as did many of my fellow Target shoppers; some in pursuit of a particular item and some like me, searching for nothing in particular.

I plunked myself in the express lane, fiddling with my smart phone like everyone else in the store.  But, the checker caught my ear.  She was ringing up an older woman who was buying a large and cumbersome cork board, while trying to juggle her purse and write a check.  You know how irritated we tend to  get about the old-school check writers who take up so much time in the check-out lines.  The woman finished her awkward transaction and the checker said,  “Now, you take care, my darlin'”.

She said it with such sincerity and love that I thought she must know this woman and then it was my turn.  She scanned my scant items and efficiently bagged them up.  I swiped my card and she looked me in the eye and said very sincerely,  “Thank you so much darlin’.  Have a nice evening”.

I’ll be honest.  I wanted to linger.  I wanted to express my gratitude for her gentleness and kindness that is so often lost in these transactions.  She took the time to acknowledge each and every PERSON who came through her line.  Not a customer, not a client, but a person.  Even though many of us are rushed, distracted, impatient, frustrated, snotty, self-absorbed, talking on our stupid cell phones, she was efficient and competent, but also kind and connected.

Was it difficult for her?  It didn’t seem to be.  At all.  We choose what we put out to the world.  I’ll be willing to bet that she’s had some pretty shitty things happen in her life.  Maybe she went home to some of them after her shift.  We all have our burdens, but I guess what I’m saying and what I’m learning is that my burdens don’t have to become yours. My shitty day doesn’t have to become your problem.  We live in a time and a culture where it’s become okay to dump all of your dirt onto others and that’s not fair.  That makes for a dirty, nasty world.

I’m thinking that it would be so much nicer and cleaner and clearer if we all kept our dirt to ourselves, in neat little piles.  No spreading it around. That way, we all have a clear path here and there to get to where we’re going.  To walk AROUND that dirt and keep our feet clean.  Sound good?  Here’s your broom……

June 24, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments


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