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Reaching Out

I love finding those bright, shining rays of hope throughout the day. It is such a great feeling when you recognize one.

I had stopped at the gas station yesterday and went inside to pay. There was quite a line. Everyone there was tense, obviously in a hurry to get going on their way. The girl behind the counter must have been feeling it too because she looked extremely stressed.

As the person in front of me finished, a man attempted to get the cashier’s attention as I was stepping to the counter. The cashier was suprisingly rude to him. I immediately offered to let him be attended to first in an attempt to diffuse the situation. It didn’t work. The hostility between the two increased.

As I reached out to hand my money to the cashier, she looked at me and said somewhat gently that he would have had to wait anyways because she had already started processing me. And as the cashier processed my payment, the gentleman looked at me, kind of shrugging his shoulders, and said not to worry about it. I remember numbly nodding and perhaps a half-hearted smile at both in return. But I was aware enough to note as I walked out, the cashier did take care of the gentleman next. There was obvious strain, but they had returned to civility.

As I told Patrick about the experience, my initial reaction after shock was one of sadness and disappointment. How could people be so cold and hostile toward one another for seemingly no reason at all?

As I reflect on that now, I see the hope and our innate concern and nature to care for others. Despite the open hostility and without any verbal reaction on my part BOTH people picked up on something in me and reached out to comfort me in their own way. Reached out to me, a complete stranger.  It was completely instinctual for them to put aside their own anger and frustration and reach out to someone who was struggling.

And I was struggling; to understand what was happening, how people could be that way, how I could help resolve the issue, just struggling in general. They recognized the struggle even though I wasn’t understanding what I was feeling. They recognized, connected with me, and reached out to help. Isn’t that beautiful?

I feel like a have a renewed sense of faith in humanity. Despite all of the ugliness and hatred that is out there, it is still in our nature to reach out and care for others. It’s a part of who we all are as people.  That’s beautiful and exciting.

There is hope for us yet.