I spent days doing very human things like having medical tests and warding off the symptoms of Kidney stones which other humans who have had them can tell you – pain is a part of that process. And yes, in those few days I was a little bit slower (okay a lot slower) and focused on myself just a bit more. I was trying to get through my days like everyone else and accomplishing even smaller tasks had become a little . . . taxing? Challenging? Yes! And making me so much more appreciative for the former weeks where I was having fun with the Adorables at the beach (the grandgirls) and those few weeks ago were beginning to seem like ancient history. I crept around, managed a very nice social Dutch Lunch (which is part of my monthly routine in Nashville with authors and other book-minded peopled) – and then IMMEDIATELY went back into my shell of not talking to anyone.
On one of this days I crossed paths with someone who was very much NOT in a shell. She walked into a business speaking loud enough for all the patrons to hear, wearing a medical gizmo and giving out lots of recent medical details of her trials and tribulations. I tried not to make eye contact because I didn’t want to talk to another human for one more minute. But the entire time I was thinking – all she wants is a chat, a small chat, to share a few sordid details – all you have to do is go Ummmhumm once in a while – but all that self talk didn’t move me. I made my escape with that woman still on my mind. And yes, I prayed for her later I really did. But a friendly five minutes sure might have been worth more to her. OK – if I were a betting woman I’d give you some odds here.
Then I spent a few more days surfing the city with slower steps and even shorter sentences. And yes, I kept seeing people I felt needed a prayer here and there but my heart wasn’t in it. Pain sure does have a way of side tracking you in a multitude of ways. A few constant twinges and a bit of anger and self-pity. What began happening at the same time was this kind of dark feeling as if I was entering some sort of grey nebulous. That pulling away. Where I had been so plugged into the human story for over a year, I was beginning to disassociate. And the numbness that went with that was not at all pleasant. I no longer feel compelled to pray for a person every day as I did in 2009 during the resolution year although I usually still do. But after a few days of not being engaged in that way I can certainly tell a difference. I don’t like it.
The following day I was walking through a local health venue and instead of looking for someone, or being sensitive to someone who might need a special prayer I started remembering all the people I had prayed for here and there walking through that store in the previous year. And remembering the few I had told in person. Which somehow made me busts through my spiritual lethargy and walk up to a woman and say – “Hey, What is your name if you don’t mind me asking because I do this thing – (you can feel in the blanks by now) and today you are my special person. I just want you to know that.”
“Alright!” she said, and pumped her arm a little in the air. “Alright!” she said again.
A smile crept up on my face in spite of my pain. I nodded my head, thinking ‘Alright!’ to myself for different reasons.Then we spoke for a little while where I explained to her how much more she was helping my soul that day than the other way around. And it sure was the truth no matter how she might have looked at it. I told her about the past year, the resolution, and the forthcoming book next April with some of those stories like hers.
“I’m tearing up,” she tells me.
“Yeah, me too.”
And I”m so glad I still can. Seriously. Those bitten days of functioning at a fine level until I could get somewhere to cloak myself, walk through a crowd unnoticed and unfeeling – there’s not much good there. Give me a few short minutes, a stranger here and there any day over the ones where I armor myself with my own life’s pain and pleasures. And it wouldn’t hurt for me to have a little more patience too. A few minutes of ummmhumm’s might go a long way to water someone else’s soul. No doubt, it would water mine.