Lessons from a Grocery Store

Today I refused to pull out my cell phone.

Today I was at the deli waiting for my number…number 98…to be called and I refused to take out my cell phone and idly scroll through Facebook or Instagram to fill the empty space. It was painful. Well, not really. But, I had to really CHOOSE to stand there and just be. To be present. To make eye contact. To offer a smile to not only the people passing by, but to the people behind the counter that were overwhelmed with the task at hand. And do you know what happened? I met an 89 year old Navy veteran who played polo as a 20-something. He grew up in rural Illinois – where the horses out populated the people. “You had to own five horses if you even wanted to compete in polo.” He said. His hat showed me that he was a WWII survivor and his spirit showed me so much more.

We find ourselves in the midst of hundreds of people on a daily basis…but we refuse to connect. We choose to stare at our phones and purposefully ignore others. Why? Is it because of an inability to converse? Is it a choice we make or is it just automatic? I’m not sure, but I do know that my interaction with this man was exactly what my soul needed. Connection. Eye contact. Conversation. It was all of maybe four minutes, but those four minutes made me walk out a little lighter and I carried it with me throughout the day…I can only hope that it did the same for him.

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