I have always loved and enjoyed the strangers that have come into my life and when I look back I smile with genuine connection. For some reason my quick conversations, the strangers that I meet and never see again leave an impression on me.
I think back about the homeless man singing on the side of the road and the sweet conversation we had as my young daughter handed him a sandwich. He looked at my daughter and it took him to a place that made him think about his daughter that was out in the world some where. I could genuinely see and hear the regret he had that alcohol had snatched that relationship away.
I remember the two, young homeless teens with their dogs that I invited into my car after I had just moved home from Bend, Oregon. There was some familiarity of Bend when I saw their dreaded hair, the piercings, the tattoos and I knew I needed to stop and ask them about their story. I knew people from ‘around here’ would not stop and would most likely just stare. We had a great conversation about their travels, their dogs and I ended up taking them to my parents home and them having showers and a meal. My parents just smiled and immediately wondered if they had lice, where they came from…..I just smiled and told them I felt it was the right thing to do.
I just read a journal note from a recent trip we went on to Washington D.C. My little family had never been there, so it was especially special. My favorite part? The uber drivers! These are just a couple we enjoyed! So many great conversations.
Eddae who was a pool shark and told us about his “brown parents” and how he has not talked to them in years because they were not proud of him or his passion for pool. My heart sank for him & luckily I had just watched a Mysteries at the Museum that had a great story about Willie Mosconi who was one of the greatest pool players in history. It was fun to be able to share the story about how Willie’s father owned a pool hall, but forbid his son to play. Willie as a young boy wanted to so badly. He would get up really early without his father knowing and use potatoes and a broom to practice. He secretly got really good. In time a good friend of the family was at the pool hall and Willie desperately wanted to play and so a friendly wager was made about Willie winning and being able to play. Willie was confident and showed his Dad how good he really was. His father had to let him play. It was a great story and so fun to share with our new friend whose father had shunned him because of the game of pool. We encouraged “Eddie” to keep playing if he had such a passion for it. It was a great car ride.
Then there was Marcus. He was the sweetest, Christian man who seemed to light up the DC area. He was proud to share that he had grown up in DC and as we drove he shared memory after memory about the area. At one point he was talking about his two daughters—17 & 6 from a previous marriage. He admitted he was young & dumb & worked harder at making money than working on his marriage. He also mentioned finding Christ & how that helped his whole life. He said it really is true if you dont go through the pain, then You truly won’t gain. He said he had gone through a lot of pain, but gained so much from it. We were in traffic for awhile, so at one point I asked him if he was close with his mom. The energy literally changed/dipped. He was a little choked up & mentioned that he had been in the hospital with her this week because she just had a massive stroke & things did not look good. He has 7 siblings & most are in the area, so they are praying to see if she comes out of it, but it is not looking good. I told him we would pray for her. He humbly said, “Wow, I was not expecting this in my day.” You could feel his genuine light & love.
We continued talking for a little bit & he learned we were leaving the next day. He said, “Can I say a prayer for all you?” We happily agreed. He started praying in his sweet, big voice. He prayed for our safe travels home & ended with such love & conviction in Jesus name. Sweetest experience ever!!
Love & light is everywhere if you take the time to look.
One more stranger…I will always have a special place forever in my heart for my friend Marianne. She was working at my local Walmart about 10 years ago. I started talking to her and she told me she had just moved here from Turkey with her daughter. She had told me that it was not a good situation with her husband so they had to flee the country. My heart felt for her.
Later that day I had a very big impression to stop back by Walmart and ask her what she needed for her daughter. It was the holidays, so it seemed like a pretty simple idea. I walked in and found Marianne at the cash wrap. I asked her when she was going to get off work & I told her I would meet her then. She looked at me completely puzzled. When she was done I asked her, “So what would your daughter like for Christmas?” She looked even more confused, “What do you mean,” she asked. I told her I felt I was suppose to help her in some way, so I figured with the holidays coming up she may need some toys for her young daughter. She hesitantly picked out a couple of things. I kept pushing her about what her daughter likes, enjoys doing, etc. Marianne was so genuinely grateful and did not want to do too much. She was sincerely appreciative of anything. I left there that day with the beginning of a friendship that has lasted about ten years. She has moved out of state, been married and divorced and through it all we have still stayed connected. She even wished me to be her daughter’s guardian if anything happened to her. We are family. Always will be.
ONE LAST INSPIRING STRANGER story
I JUST READ THIS story this morning and LOVED it. We enjoy the tv show Survivor at our house, so we were truly cheering on Stephanie in this season. She just got voted off sadly, but we pulled up her bio and this great “stranger story” was inspiring. Enjoy. I pulled this off of CBS. Who or what is your inspiration in life? Bob Scott. 87 years old. He is my angel. I met him the week of my divorce and two weeks after his wife passed away. I like to think his angel wife brought us together. He taught me to swim shortly after we met because he wanted me to be a “happy and fit mom” for my boys. He helped me learn to ride a triathlon bike. He introduced me to the world of triathlon, which changed my world. He competed alongside me at my first half Ironman and full Ironman and still competes to this day. Bob taught me the sport is about fun, fitness, and friends and that to do this for life and be just like him, I had to keep this mentality. We still train together each week as well as compete alongside each other.
You never know what will come from a sincere meeting with a stranger. Look for guidance, be a light and you will always be inspired by others.
-Peace and love to you today. H