I spoke with a gentleman today. He said hello and explained that his family had been speaking about me this weekend. He went on to say he even told a few friends about my attitude. He wanted to tell me thank you. Nothing can be more of a compliment for me than having stories I share retold and having someone say my life has made a positive impact on theirs.
On Friday, I had met this man for the first time. He was in a community reading room I go to often. Here was the conversation we had:
“Good morning. How are you doing?“ he asked me.
I replied, “I am great. My groceries were a little heavy to carry home, but it was a nice walk on this cloudy day.”
He looked up from his paper and asked, “Why didn’t you drive? That’s a long walk!”
I smiled, prepared for this familiar response. It is three miles round trip. “I don’t like to drive. It is a good walk for me. I prefer getting the exercise.”
The corners of his mouth slipped down. “Let me give you my number. Wow, I didn’t know you walked everywhere. You didn’t get caught out in the rain did you?”
“Yes,” I said. “Thankfully it was before I had my groceries though. Besides, it was not rain it was just a heavy mist. I guess that would be considered rain here in California.” I laughed at the jab I made regarding this state.
His frown slid further, “Now I feel really bad you walked. Gosh, that is horrible. Too bad the sun just came out now. It would have been nice if you walked in the sun.”
I knew he was making the same mistake so many others unknowingly make. I looked him in the eye and explained the reality of my life. “See, you frown because you think I had to walk to the store. I smile because I know I have the ability to walk to the store. You think I was stuck walking in the rain. I think I was lucky to have the opportunity to dance in the rain.”
He looked at me with an awkward smile. My display of optimism is not accepted by everyone. My thoughts of hope and the way I embrace the reality of my life is hard for some people to understand. Yet, I want to share this optimism. Not everyone will listen. To those that do, I am grateful for their time. For those that let me know my story is touching them in some way, my gratitude can never be fully expressed.
After this conversation, we went back to our own work. He went back to his paper; I opened my computer. Later, he packed to leave. I told him I hoped if it drizzled yet this afternoon he could take the time to go out in the rain and see how good this warm mist felt. I hoped he danced in the rain. I hoped he would have an opportunity to get out and discover all the joys to be found on this beautiful day.
On Monday, I learned these simple words touched his life; this was a successful day. These conversations brought to mind a wall quote I found last week. This quote was a perfect summary of a long walk to buy some groceries and a small chat that helped someone realize the simple gifts life can offer:
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain!” Author Unknown