Sunday, May 02, 2010

passing sincerities

As a cashier, I have the opportunity to cross paths with hundreds of people a day. Most of these interactions are quick and not memorable, but every once and a while I am given a quick personal glimpse into one of my customer's lives. This week, I was privileged with such a glimpse. A woman came through with tears in her eyes and as I greeted her she started apologizing for her emotion. "I'm sorry to cry in front of you, but I was just reminded of my husband. He died 8 years ago, but I adored him." Tears began to fall with greeter freedom as I stopped checking out her groceries and leaned forward to hear more. She continued, "I just spoke with a young woman who has just met a man. They are falling in love...she was picking out wine and cheese to take to him on a picnic. That's the kind of thing my husband would have loved." Tears continued..."It's been eight years, but I miss him so much. I have such wonderful memories." I was at a loss for words, but stammered, "It sounds like you had a remarkable wonderful to have loved so deeply." By this time her grocery bags were packed, bill paid and she was moving towards the door but she turned one last time and smiled at me through thick tears, "I loved him so much. It's a shame I'm such an ugly crier." I laughed and thanked her for sharing, realizing that every person coming through my line is drenched in personal stories, yet it is rare that we let our guard down enough to share. This woman, though a complete stranger, let me into to her story, loss and grief. In that brief interaction I got to celebrate a rich love, grieve a deep loss and be encouraged by a rich marriage. How much more life is there to be lived if we took the opportunity to invite people into our stories, even strangers. I hope to love like this woman loved, and live in her sincerity, so to bring people into the depths of my life, even in quick, passing interactions.