One of the things that the pandemic has shown so clearly is how much we are all connected. We are all living in the same place, under the same moon. The other night, I was inspired by the words of New York City writer, Marian Drew, and how this period is making her think about the encounters she have had with strangers. Strangers we don’t know the names of, but whom we’ll never forget. She writes, “How many significant life moments we share with people we will probably never see again…we are all walking around the same city carrying snippets of each other’s shared histories in our hearts.”
I sat with these words for a while. I sipped my cup of tea, closed my eyes, and thought about the moments my heart was so full saying goodbye to strangers I had just met, all the while knowing I may never see them again. I transported myself back to the words that were exchanged, the laughs that were shared, and the agreeing nods we gave one another while sharing stories. I sat there for an hour, reminiscing, feeling so grateful and content.
When you have time this week, take a moment to slow down. Close your eyes and let yourself go back to the encounters that you have had the past year. What was said? What looks and smiles were exchanged? And after saying goodbye, how did you feel when you could no longer see those people, even when you looked back in the moment, trying to catch another glimpse of them?
It’s even more powerful when you write these memories down. Below are some of the stories of the past year in NYC that I wrote down in my diary:
I see many parents every day riding the train for a long commute to bring their kids to school before starting their own workday. And while many other commuters are playing a game or scrolling a feed on their cell phone, these parents are patiently listening to a story about a wizard, or answering the 10th ‘why’ question from their child. I always like listening to these conversations and sometimes can’t help but laugh. When I do, the parent looks up and smiles at me, and tells the child to see what’s in the lady’s bag (my pup Teddi!).
Or the guy who sat next to me in a tiny corner in a cafe and we shared our separate breakfasts together, while chatting about our passions and dreams. That Sunday morning I felt a bit lost, but his interesting questions made me realize how fortunate I am with the life I was living. I found out, after our conversation, he was one of the founders of the café.
There’s the young mom who asked her toddler to sit on her lap when I entered the subway in a walking boot while she already had a baby in a carrier bag on her chest.
Or the elderly couple sitting next to me on a bench outside La Colombe, telling me to never lose my smile. I was actually smiling because I was listening to the voice messages of my nephews… And while I was smiling and always overjoyed when hearing from my two favorite little beings, I was in pain because I was going through a heart break. And as if this couple knew, they told me after we chatted for a while, that whatever happens, to never stop smiling. They said that it looks like sunshine on a cloudy day (oh bless them!).
There was the grocery store worker just last week who told me that he can go to the back of the store to find more stock for me if I needed more 85% chocolate bars after seeing my disappointment with only 2 bars in my hand. It was already the final hour of his 10-hour shift.
Writing these moments down and reliving them makes my heart all warm and fuzzy, and my sight a bit blurry because I can’t help but cry a little for these beautiful people. These strangers have touched me, so much, with their kindness.
Now it’s your turn. Write your memories and allow yourself to revisit them. You will see how your mood shifts when you finish.
Stay safe… xo