While standing in line waiting to get into Trader Joe’s I found myself in tears. Not from sadness but from gratitude. I was overcome with how fortunate I was to have easy access and affordability to the food that was needed to stock my cupboards. Something I took for granted prior to the pandemic. As I breathed in this gratitude two women stepped into line behind me.
 
Not so much gratitude
Immediately, they started grumbling about needing to wait in line. How much they hated everything that was going on because of this – and I quote – “damn virus!”     
They couldn’t wait for it to be gone and get back to living life as they had before.
 
Everything they said, and I mean everything, contained a complaint or frustration about something. My gratitude was quickly evaporating and all I could think of was why can’t they just be grateful for the moment of this beautiful, sunny, warm day we were graced with while waiting. Not to mention the incredible kindness and joy coming from the Trader Joe’s employee taking care of the line process.
 
And then, I caught myself, and silently said, “Salazar, this is none of your business. They get to feel and express whatever needs to be felt and expressed. Don’t let yourself be pulled into it. LET IT GO, NOW!”
 
Yes, I yelled at myself.
 
With that self-reminder, I took a deep breath and smiled under my mask choosing to send them peace from my heart to theirs. That felt much better to me and it would do no harm.
 
The Miracle!
What happened in the next couple of minutes was nothing short of a miracle! They stopped talking for a moment and then I heard:

“Let’s take a breath. We’ve been through a lot the last couple of days and need to remind each other of the blessings we have.”
 
“You’re right. I’ve just been so sad that I want to scream sometimes. But there’s still so much good and thank you for saying that. I’m so grateful you’re in my life.”
 
Cue my tears, again!
 
I wanted to turn around and hug them but thought that might not be the best thing to do.
 
Even if hugging wasn’t off limits for the time being!
 
Another minute or so passed, the line moved and into Trader Joe’s I went. They didn’t get in when I did. Nonetheless, I have no doubt they were totally okay with it given their shift from grumbles to gratitude.
 
I have no idea
Now I obviously have no idea what is going on in their lives. Perhaps a loved one is in the hospital or passed away due to the virus. Or maybe they were simply frustrated by the way the world is being experienced right now. It really doesn’t matter.
 
They get to be however they need to be moment to moment. As do all of us. With or without a pandemic.

I love when these experiences show up in my life. They keep in my awareness, front and center, that we absolutely have more of an effect on others than we may realize. Whether it’s spoken or silent. And the more love, peace and kindness we can send out to others, there’s always the chance it will be felt whether we have the privilege to witness it or not.

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