I was on the verge of tears all day today. Donald Trump combined with having that stupid, heartwrenching audition song from La La Land stuck in my head, I guess. I actually did shed a few tears at random times. I kept thinking about all the art and beauty that would disappear if the article I read about Gorbachev is right. He thinks the world is preparing for war.
I thought I was going to cry watching my daughter’s honor band rehearsal, where she was playing under the direction of my college band professor, but I didn’t. I watched them rehearse at the incomparable Weill Hall, brought my daughter home for her dinner break and dropped her back off for the evening rehearsal. I’d planned to stay and watch some more, but the car was on empty, so I left to get gas and for some reason didn’t feel like hurrying back. I hadn’t had much dinner, so I ran to the store.
I’ve been shopping at the same locally owned market for well over a decade. It’s one of my favorite places. The cashiers feel like friends. As I checked out I found myself wishing they were good enough friends to ask for a hug. They aren’t. I thought about it on my way out, but they aren’t. Several of them probably wanted a hug too, but it’s just too weird. What a strange world.
At home, I pulled into my parking spot, got out, and said hello to a woman I see out walking a lot. Long ago I chatted with her about her dog, but the dog wasn’t with her this time.
“How are you?” I asked.
“Well,” she said, “I fell recently and it’s been tough getting out in this cold weather. Luckily I didn’t hurt the fusion.”
I guessed from her gesture that she was referring to back surgery, but it was cute the way she said it as if I knew all about her surgery. I figure she’s told a lot of people in our complex and she assumed she’d told me before. We had never said much more than “hello” before. Now I told her that I was upset about the state of the world, and we just kept chatting. She told me her name was Margie (with a hard “g.”)
We talked for a long time before she said something that began with “The Lord blessed me with…”
“I thought you might be a Christian,” I said. “I am too.”
She asked me if I knew any other Christians in our complex and asked where I went to church. When she was healthier, she’d attended a church that she liked except for its Calvinism. I had to have her explain that. I told her that I thought my church got Biblical principles right and explained the time that I did have one beef with them, whereupon she quoted Jude 3 (…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.)
What a hoot! How many people do you run into who can pull an appropriate Bible verse out of their mind? It was cold and dark, so finally I told her goodnight and walk carefully, and she gave me a hug! Suddenly I realized how strange it was for me to have wished for a hug at the grocery store. I’d never thought such a thing before, and here was Margie, out after dark which she said she doesn’t usually do.
I have often regretted not saying things like this, so I immediately told her, “When I was at the grocery store I wished I could ask someone for a hug! You’re an answer to prayer!”
She said, “Then you need another one,” and she hugged me again.
Thank you, neighbor. Thank you, God. Every day I need to be reminded that the beauty will NEVER be gone from this world. I seem to need to be reminded more than most, and God doesn’t seem to judge me for it. He simply reminds me one more time.