Monday, May 10, 2010

Human Kind

Recently, I was shopping in a department store for some odds and ends. In this particular store, there was a place where you could buy tasty coffee drinks.

After paying for my purchases, I got in line to order one of my favorite drinks. In front of me was a women harried with the stress of not finding her gift card, in which to purchase her drink. At this time, a woman and a man walked into the refreshment area. The man sat down and the woman walked to the counter where you could buy a fountain drink and a variety of food items.

A few moments passed and the man began to scream in frustration. The type of scream one would hear from a toddler who is frustrated. It was clear to me that this gentleman was mentally challenged and his care giver, whom I assumed to be his mother became anxious as people began to look her direction. The man, every few moments, would erupt with a scream.  Feeling the need to explain, the mother told those of us waiting, that he was learning patience and he didn't like to wait. The person working the refreshment area was alone and providing coffee drinks as well as manning the food area. She was pouring the harried women's drink, who finally did find her gift card, and I was next in line. I heard the mother tell the son, that he had to wait and that they were next in line after me. I told her, I was not in any hurry and would she like to be the next person to be helped. She thank me and said yes, that would be wonderful. She purchased a fountain drink and popcorn. The man's face lit up. He was so happy to receive a bag of popcorn. They both sat at the table quietly drinking a fountain drink and eating popcorn.

While I waited for my drink to be made, the mother began to  talk with me and the woman standing behind me. She said he is having difficulty learning patience. The woman behind me and I looked at one another and said, "Aren't we all" I said, he is doing what most of wish we could do, show emotion. Express ourselves. Be human. I told her I have felt that way many times and I wish I could just scream. The woman behind me said she felt the same way. She wished she could be herself and not just someone who smiles and nods that everything is fine when it is not. What started out as an embarrassing moment for the mother of this man became a honest discussion about taking the mask off and getting real. A discussion about taking care of ones self and stop working at pleasing everyone else. To be honest and say what is their truth. A discussion about kindness and compassion, tolerance and truth. I shared with the them the bumper sticker I had seen earlier that morning, "Humankind, be both" and how those words touched me.

As I said good-bye to my new friends. The mother touched my arm and said thank you. I said, no, thank you for reminding me to be both. 

Miraculous moments happen when you allow yourself to see with your heart. The eyes of the heart lead you to see the beauty in every person, every situation. They are there, if you choose to look, even in the refreshment area of a department store.