An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
I woke up this morning with an emptiness of feeling in my emotional tank. I needed to go to the bank, my favourite branch in the neighbourhood to complete an undertaking of conviction that had been pending for a long time. So I woke up, ready to head to the mall (I rarely do this on weekends) unless I’m heading to the bookstore. I guess my wife saw the golden opportunity to squeeze in some items for me to buy from the local super market. Fair enough, I obliged. Shopping is not necessary my cup of tea. But I guess as a wise man, you always careful to be a good husband. Certainly this was the least I could do!
Anyway, I got to the bank hall and was greeted with a smile by a familiar face; one of the bank tellers, and I walked over to her and we had a brief chit chat.
‘Oh, haven’t seen you in a while, must been on the road quite abit these days’. ‘Yeah, been around busy with this and that’… It felt good to see a familiar face.
The same was the experience with the customer care lady who was attending to my request. Pleasant chit chat on a Saturday morning…. and my feel good was flowing again.
A stop over at the Supermarket, and one more familiar face. A gentleman this time who in a few minutes shared with me their dream and intention of starting a business in a few months as a means to eke out a living after being in employment at the mall for a while. He even shared some of his health concerns, and I gave him my assurance, for moral support and prayer. Again, I was so inspired and felt connected and alive as ever before. So heartwarming to hear about his dream and his ambition. I left him with some words of encouragement to give it a go and never let go on his dream. We even laughed and toasted to a celebration in a few months’ time!
Shortly after it was check out time. I didn’t see any familiar face among the tellers, but with a smile and some chit chat on how I hadn’t been to the mall for a while… I certainly had made one more connection. I also made a point to thank her for her service and sacrifice especially on a weekend. I could tell she appreciated, and that bond of our common humanity had been ignited.
As I headed out making my way to the lifts, I couldn’t help but ponder how this little stop over at the mall had changed how I felt. Seeing familiar faces, passing by familiar signs and seeing the buzz of life as people went about doing different things…. from selecting a bottle of wine at the liquor store, to picking the grocery, to the guard at the door of the bank – all making their input – igniting smiles in others, and understandably causing frowns in some cases.
Just before I got to validate my parking ticket, I saw this man who I had met several months ago in the past year, and knowingly I smiled. It was as if the universe knew how I was thinking and feeling at this point.
He saw me and walked right up to me… and surprise of surprises…. He remembered my name!
‘Timo’… how are you Timo’…. he blurted out.
An old man, probably in his late fifties…. I had met him almost at the same spot several months ago almost a year ago. And after a quick chat he had told me that he had a shop outside, just at the back of the mall. I remembered, he was standing at the time, and when I went past him he greeted me and asked me if I had 20 bucks on me, he needed to buy a drink, one for the road to refresh him after a long day of work.
Well, I can’t tell how it felt to be called by my name. Really a pleasant surprise, and after some chit chat I promised him that I would visit his shop next time. I can tell you my feeling was complete, I felt glad and proud to be part of humanity and the teeming emotions and feelings that lend us our common existence.
As I got on the elevator, there I stood with this lady. It was rather dim, as the doors closed, and before we got to first floor, I smiled and joked…. ‘It rather dark in here…. almost feels like a movie hall’. She smiled at me knowingly, nodding her head, and I knew that the common bond of our humanity had been ignited again.
I felt alive. I felt grateful and inspired as I drove out of the mall back home. It was indeed re-assuring to be reminded of the common bond we share as a people, that transcends age, race, religion, gender, politics and any imagined brackets that people have been categorized in.
May you see the common bond of humanity whenever you go and whatever you do this weekend. It is a Timspirational Weekend after all!