I have always been possessed with a wondering mind. I have looked at people in the cars next to me, or passing me in the shops and wondered at their stories.
I think of myself, of everything that has happened so far to make me who I am, and I wonder who they are - the service girl at the Deli who smiles as she hands me this week's purchase of meats and cheeses; the librarian who sits behind a sign declaring her chemical sensitivity: "Please no scented lotions, hairsprays, or perfumes" as she runs my books over the magnet; the mother pulled over at the side of the road with a flat tire and the officer taking the spare out of her trunk.
Driving home, it came to me like a bolt of lightning, this thought.
Every person is amazing. Although not each one realizes it; maybe they have become so used to the circumstances of their life that they can no longer see it. Is that the definition of humility?
On Tuesday, I met an extraordinary person. Had I not spoken to her, had I not been interested in learning more about her, and listened - I never would've known it. Had I gone on and on about myself, I would have missed her story. I would have given no more thought to her than a body filling space, breathing air.
And I would have cheated myself.
That is what troubles me now. So often it is easy to talk, to tell, to share about one's self. But to listen, to ask, to discover the beauty in another person is when magic happens. I was so profoundly affected and effected (to the point of change) by this encounter, this conversational dance that I am left wondering. I wonder about neighbors, friends, and strangers.
What is it that I don't know about them that makes them beautiful?
Til that moment, I have always made up their stories in my mind. But now I realize that nothing is more amazing than their individual, real lives.