I was having a retail moment—in passing through TJ Maxx on the way to something I actually need, I spotted an incredible pair of shoes that I stopped to try on—when I overheard a conversation that caught my attention. It was an exchange between two ladies who obviously hadn’t seen each other in a while. I couldn’t see either of them, separated as we were by a tall rack of shoes.
Hey girl said the first voice.
Hey there said the second, with an inflection that let you know this was a pleasant surprise. Good to see you. You doin’ alright?
Oh, said the first (and here there was a definite pause).
I guess I got no complaints. (another pause) I don’t reckon it would do any good anyway. Ain’t nobody wantin’ to listen to a bunch of complaining.
You’re right about that, said two. And they both laughed.
I laughed, too.
How true, I thought. Ain’t nobody wantin’ to listen to a bunch of complaining. And yet that’s just where we tend to go when talking about our lives, isn’t it? Even in brief exchanges or surface conversations, what we feel most compelled to share is the bad, the ugly, the difficult.
Why do we do that? Why, when we all already know:
Life is hard.
Each of us carries a heavy burden.
No one of us is immune.
And yet when we connect to one another, we tend to weigh down rather than lift up. How significant would it be if that moment—How you doin’?—opened the door to a little sliver of light and grace?
Is that even possible?
(A little soul searching is in order for this rather guilty party.)
I’d love to know what you think.
30 Days of Grace III