23 April 2009

Interruption

this is not your normally scheduled broadcast. There is no knitting here today, no stories about my kid, no wedding pictures. We'll get back to all of that tomorrow.

Today, I wanted to tell you (you, here, being anyone who cares to visit my Little Corner) about this guy who hangs out at the local Starbucks. There's a much better local coffeeshop across the street from SB, but they don't take debit cards, and I never have cash anymore, so unless I'm actually carrying my checkbook, I stop in at Starbucks for my morning mocha.

There's a guy who is there almost every morning. He's old, and the light in his eyes -- he doesn't see quite the same world we all do. I've worked downtown long enough that I know him by sight, though I don't know his name, and I'd be surprised if he knew mine. But every morning when I go into Starbucks, he's sitting in this chair, studying the world. And smiling. I'm fairly sure he has somewhere to live, because he doesn't have that miasma that surrounds those who don't have the facilities to wash regularly, but he's not all there, you know.

And I try to smile back. Whatever's in my head, whatever's going on, I try to smile back. Because I'd like to believe it makes a difference, smiling at strangers. I try to smile at anyone, when I catch their eye. Mostly it freaks them out, and I'm sorry for that. But maybe if I keep doing it -- you know?

Anyway, this guy, I didn't think he thought anything of it. It's not like I thought I was changing his world by smiling, not really. But yesterday, I walked in, and he caught my eye, and we smiled -- and then he said "Thank you. I wait for your smile every morning."

I almost started to cry right on the spot.

Today, as I walked in, he gestured to me, and I walked closer to him, a little concerned to see what would happen next. Again, I've worked downtown a long time, I try to be caring but cautious. He said to me. "They're playing Amazing Grace, can you hear it?" And it took me a moment, because the overhead music was heavily orchestrated, and the melody was buried. But yes, I heard it. He said, "Everyone wants to talk about God, but no one wants to talk about mercy. Why is that?"

I had no answer for him.

So I'm asking for two things, if you've found yourself here today.

Smile at someone you don't know.

And forgive someone who doesn't necessarily deserve it.

Tomorrow, I'll see what I can do about dredging up some actually knitting content and some wedding photos.

30 comments:

Deb said...

Wow! This posting blew me away! Thanks for sharing. We all can make a difference!

Haik Bedrosian said...

I'm always nice to that guy too.

Gwen said...

* sniff *
Thanks for this post.

A. Hiscock said...

This is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

beagley said...

Is this the guy?

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2019/2409881977_a6849987a2.jpg

-d

Ranee said...

Love this post! It is so true and sad: most people do not smile at others. I also try to smile at people when I make eye contact - I try to make eye contact. You can watch people's faces and attitudes change, though some do scowl.

Anyway, I meant to send you something for the wedding, then I meant to at least congratulate you both on it, and I never did any of it. I'm glad the wedding went off with a hitch and was beautiful and nice (though I'm just going on hear say, since I haven't seen any photos), but I wanted to wish you well.

Renna said...

I landed here from a link on another blog, almost didn't click on it, but I'm so glad that I did. That was beautiful, simply beautiful.

I do try and smile at other people wherever I go. I didn't always do it, and I can't remember just when I decided to do it. I do remember the reactions I began getting, though. Surly clerks were suddenly not surly anymore. Worn out cashiers seem to get a new spark in their eye. Everyone wants to be loved, appreciated, and accepted for who they are, and smiling at a stranger is such a very small part for us to play in making this world a more harmonious place to live.

Shan said...

You totally made me cry.

AlisonH said...

Wow. Having been out of town with very little computer access for several days, I come home and find, first your wedding post, and then this. THIS is my Kristine, the love of Robb's life, and rightly so. THIS is the woman I am so proud to call my friend. And this post made me almost burst into tears too, twice.

Mercy. Love. The essence of truly living. And you, my dear friend, capture them well and then turn around and gift the rest of us with what you so clearly see. Thank you, Kristine. Thank you. And thank you to that man, whoever he is, from me.

TripletMom said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Mercy is all too often forgotten by us all!

LynnM said...

AlisonH sent me over, and let me tell you, I'm smiling at someone I don't know (only you can't see it!)

Love your breastfeeding count. I breastfed my daughter until her last tooth came in, almost 3, not exclusively mind, mostly nap and night but there were days she was sick or cranky and I was glad I still could.

Liz in IN said...

Also wandered over from Alison's blog.

Wow. What can I say? Amen! "Love God with all you've got, and your 'neighbor' as yourself." That's the entire job description.

I live in the Midwest, where smiling at strangers is pretty normal. But we won't be staying here for the duration. I'm a bit concerned we'll end up someplace where I'll be 'freaking people out' by smiling. But hey, a mission is a mission, right?

Zan said...

Thanks to Alison who recommanded this post be read... And she is right!

I try to smile at strangers to, all the while remaining cautious (I live in a big town and not everybody has your best interest at heart, you know what I mean?) because recently, a stranger told me I need to keep smiling my beautiful smile. So know you're not alone in your mission to better the world, one smile at a time. lol

As for mercy, that made me tear up too... How to get to that? I do have ppl in my life whom I should be merciful toward, but my heart aches so much it makes it difficult to get to that place. I am determined though and will find a way...

Bless you!

(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

Alison sent me and I'm glad she did. What an absolutely lovely, inspiring post. Thank you!

Channon said...

I just followed Alison over here, and I am misty. A smile can make all the difference.

ponyknit said...

WOW
Sent here through Alison's blog. I always smile at strangers, I've always felt it to have an impact. Glad to hear such a touching story. Thanks for sharing.

Angie said...

I clicked over from Alison's blog as well...I loved your post! I too try to smile at anyone who I make eye contact with. It is just a small thing I can do and it actually makes me feel good too. Thank you for putting this into words for so many others to read.

LynnM said...

Back again. I was going to mention how I smile at strangers who visit the park (Mountsandel Forest) behind my house. They and the people I know always smile back. But there are a few regulars who never smile, so I give them their space and avoid eye contact. Well what do you know, after your post today I caught one of the driven joggers after he stopped to read one of the new plaques and made a comment "Wow, you never stop! You're always on the move!" We exchanged a few words about the historical markers and then again when he passed the second time. I hope I can include him in my "smile-at category" after all, it does have to be mutual or else it turns creepy. Great post.

Kristine said...

Wow all you guys are awesome. Thanks for coming over, thanks for saying something. If you stick around, the blog is moving to Wordpress; see the most recent post.

Lynn, I am not sure that I think smiling is ever really creepy...unless it's coming from a creepy place. When I'm leered at, or someone does that long-fixed-staring smile, yeah, that gets creepy...but maybe the reason I'm so smiley to strangers is I've realized how rarely *I* find it to be strange, and how often it brightens up my day.

Marlene said...

So many people in this world are starving for a simple smile. A few years ago I made a point of going about my day with a mild smile upon my face. (Say "serenity" and hold the expression it puts on your face.) People DO notice and respond to it. I had people come up to me to start a conversation, offer me a cup of coffee, dinner, dates and so on....just based on a smile and a peaceful countenance that caught their attention. I was cautious and never acted upon these invitations, but took the time to share a few impromptu moments with them, just showing that another human being cared. Of all the people I touched while walking about with a mild smile on my face, I think the one I influenced the most was.....myself. When you don't feel much like smiling, smile anyway and see how it changes your day!

Kathleen said...

Kristine, thank you for the reminder to "forgive someone who doesn't necessarily deserve it." Now, I just have to do it. Alison sent me to your blog, BTW.

Tea said...

Hi, I've just stepped over from Spindyeknit to read this post. I'm southern, and we smile alot. I forget that in other places people don't feel free to do that. Bless you for having a mind to be different! :)

Afton said...

Well, of course, I came via Alison. Thank for your reminder. Grace and Mercy - both are important.

Elysbeth said...

Love this story, it made a difference.

Diana Troldahl said...

Thank you :-}
On a day when my weekend plans got canceled, I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself. (Swine Flu, Conventions and compromised immune systems should not mix)
Your post helped me cheer up, and feel all warm and gooey inside. (in a good way)
(hugs)

Henya said...

Smile is the best investment. It costs nothing and most people who receive it pay it back manifold. May you always have the will and the strength to smile.

Busy Grandma Elsie said...

Well, you just made my selfness heart cry!
How many times do we rush by without noticing others ,when a simple smile would cheer them up & lighten their day.
Sniff..... and its good.
Elsie <><

Karin said...

I am the proud recipient of quite a few of your smiles and I feel honored.
What a great story - I am glad you wrote that down. And HOW!

elizabeth said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story today. It was truly a blessing.

Ihnasarima said...

I try to smile at anyone I pass when I'm walking around. Anyone I can get eye contact with, anyone who seems to be looking through me. I read something like this: http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongbeauty/tp/smiling.htm and it fascinates me that by smiling I can make myself happier and others maybe have a better day.
Yes, I manipulate other people by smiling at them on the street.