I love a small town, and I particularly love the daytime bagger at my local grocers. He always insists on helping me outside with my groceries, and some days he adds a little off color joke to the mix. Sometimes they are off color in a way that gets my blood flowing and upset, but I love Mr Larry. I love him. He's gentle and funny, and reminds me of Jimmy Durante. He is light hearted and full of mischievous smiles.
Well, today, I just happened to have extra time waiting for something. I turned to Larry and said how are you today Mr Larry? His jovial smile was gone, he turned to me and said, "sad, I lost my wife two weeks ago, and I'm terribly lonely. I know she's better now, but I miss her."
I gathered my groceries, said a prayer, and left. My heart ached for Mr Larry, but I was also struck by something. His frank venerability. He didn't wait a year to show me his heart, I didn't have to go through a battery of trust tests to learn his grief, he simply gave me the gift of his hurt. I felt extremely grateful.
Some people are so hard edged and mistrusting. I understand, I struggle wanting to be that way, but the gift of transparent living is just that living. I feel more connected to Larry, more curious about his heart, at the ready to be praying for him. Why? Because he showed himself. He was venerable. What a precious gift given to a stranger.
Why fake happy when we face hurts of a thousand kinds? Why not love your nearest neighbor enough to speak from your heart?