It was a good day at Target. The aisles were empty of riff-raff shoppers, the only food my cat will eat was on sale and the lines were short.
|Island of Misfit Toys|
For the past three days I’d spent the hours vacillating between a white hot anger about the selfishness of human beings and heavy guilt about my lack of compassion.
Most of the time, while siting in that class, I’d felt like a freak.
An odd freak of nature who didn’t really give a rat’s ass about community or connecting to other people. C’mon, I can’t stand facebook. Sharing every little aspect of one’s personal life with a bunch of strangers just seems dumb and useless. Plus the more someone knows about you, the easier it is for them to use that info against you later.
At least that what I thought at the time.
For about an hour, I’d been walking around Target looking at the things on sale but not really seeing anything.
My mind was on the class and what I’d really learned over the weekend. Had I learned anything? I felt broken, somehow. It was as if there was something integrally wrong with me that I wouldn’t ‘get’ all the earthshattering revelations everyone else was getting in the class.
I paid for my cat food, kitty litter, toothpaste, and soap and rolled my cart over the black mat to trigger the extra wide door to open. Spring was coming but the last tendrils of winter added a chilly snap to the air.
Walking to my car I spotted the guy who collects the shopping carts from the parking lot. I admit I didn’t notice the man at first.
My geek brain had zeroed in on the little red motorized cart he pushed. It was like the little train that could, a mechanized caboose to push the linked up line of ten shopping carts. I thought the little caboose was cool and wondered how easier it made the man’s job. Only then did I notice him. He was average size. In spite of the caboose, he had to hunch over and dig his heels into the ground to get the little line of carts going again after he stopped to add another to the line. Was that hard work, I wondered.
This took all of ten seconds, my observation of man and little red caboose.
I passed him and the little train of shopping carts. Found my car, keyed the trunk open and started to unload my cart.
Just behind me, I heard someone say, “I’ll take that for you.”
I turned , a little startled. I’d sunk back into brooding so deeply, I’d not heard the man with train of carts roll up next to me.
I stopped, handed my cart off to him, looked him in the eye, smiled and said, “Thank you.”
This time it was him who was startled. He flinched as if I’d stuck him with a straight pin.
Then his face lit up. He stood up tall.
“You know, people always think I’m crazy just because I’m doing my job.” He stood up a little straighter.
“Heck,” I said, “you saving me some time from having to walk all the way down there to put the cart up. Plus I know you are just doing your job."
He laughed . “Yeah I can never understand why people are like that.”
“Don’t you pay them any mind, do your job and get your paycheck.”
His navy jacket dwarfed him a bit. “I like my job. I just want to come in, do a good days work and go home.”
“You’re in a good space. That’s how everyone should think but they don’t Look, don’t worry about the negative people, do what makes you happy.”
We talked for a little while longer. Not about anything important. Eventually we wished each other well. I got in my bug and he headed back to the Target. Something had struck me odd about the meeting but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly.
It wasn’t until I was on the rail road heading for Manhattan, for the last night of the class, did it hit me.
When I looked that man in the eye and gave a sincere thank you, his entire had being changed. With two words, and unintentionally I’d communicated –
Yes, I see you. You matter.
And in that moment, we’d had a powerful exchange. In a single second, I had shaped someone else’s in life – if only for a moment. I’d contributed to another human being. And in that same second, he’d given me a gift. That I mattered too. Even something as small as a thank you, had a huge impact.
We were both beings of incredible power . . . simultaneously affecting the realm of the other on an integral level and leaving them better for it.
Wow. Perhaps I wasn’t a freak after all.
I write stories about people and mythical creatures who are born with great powers. But deep down they ache for a greater connection and confirmation of their worth, their being.
Luna, in The Blood Gem, is a freak of nature, she’s a shifter who can’t shift. Luna is such an aberration, she’s stoned and has to flee to avoid causing a civil war. But through a series of unfortunate events, Luna begins a journey of self discovery-- of learning who she is, what she stands for, and finding her rightful niche.
Eventually she discovers a place in the world that’s been especially retrofitted and waiting for her to arrive.
Isn’t that what we all crave? To be welcomed into a place that’s been carved out for us – a place where we’re perfect just as we are?
Without realizing it, we wait for clues from the Universe (or from God – take your pick) to let us know that our existence is not an accident – that we have worth – that we are not freaks.
A brief meeting in a Target parking lot was one of my clues.
I bet clues are all around you too.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading.