A few weeks ago, I went on a trip with my brother to Florida. On our drive back home, we stopped at a Wendy’s in North Carolina. The woman who took our order was in her 40’s or 50’s…I couldn’t really tell, but she had a light within her that felt like a warm hug. It was so comforting to be in her presence for those few minutes as she asked what we wanted and took our money. The restaurant was busy, but she didn’t seem rushed.
She looked into my eyes when she spoke…and she smiled. It was obvious that she wasn’t wrapped up in her own mind, or lamenting that at her age, she should be somewhere other than working at Wendy’s. She wasn’t complaining about her lot, or her life, or the state of the world.
She was present. And maybe I noticed it because it seems to be a quality that is uncommon; being happy where we are, touching those around us with our light. Not striving to be important or noticed or acknowledged for “our work”. She showed me, in a brief moment what presence was, and she left an impression on me that felt like Love.
When I ask myself the question, “What should I do with my life!?”, as if living and loving and being kind isn’t really enough, then that question becomes a tyrant to me, prodding me, throwing examples before my eyes of all of the successful ones who have “made it” and who have done something big and have left their mark on the world in a big way (always as opposed to me). I don’t think that we can strive to find meaning in life. I think that striving and struggling make us tired and self-concerned.
I think it’s better to smile at ourselves in the mirror and to take that smile with us and share it with the world.
“For better or for worse, I’ve watched people die in front of me. I see how they are in the end. And they’re not cynical. In the end, they wanna hold somebody’s hand. And that’s real to me.” Mitch Albom