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Beautiful Moments

June 10, 2009

::: 1 :::

I was driving home from work yesterday, and was waiting at a busy intersection near my office when I saw a woman handing a man grocery bags from the trunk of her car. At first, I was trying to figure out what in the world these two were doing in a dry cleaner’s parking lot making this exchange. The trunk closed, the woman got back into her car, and the man walked over to the nearest bus stop, and sat down. I saw him holding a piece of cardboard under his arm, and when he unfolded it, it said “I am hungry and need food.”

This woman, probably on her way home to her family, had stopped and given this man all her newly-purchased groceries.

I was shocked to see someone actually do this. Growing up in the suburbs, I had been somehow ingrained (not by my parents necessarily) to fear anyone asking me for anything, because most likely, they were lying, on drugs, mentally unstable, lazy, and a drunk. I am struggling to move past those poisonous prejudices today, and seeing this was a drop-kick across the face that I’m not doing as good of a job of it as I thought. My first thought when I saw this scene unfolding wasn’t “This is beautiful and an expression of Christ’s mercy and love.” It was, “I wonder if he really is hungry, and needs all those groceries, or if he’s lying.”

I hate that this was what was running through my head, because even as I was thinking it, I felt its malice and knew that it didn’t matter if he didn’t need them. The fact was that this woman had showed mercy and compassion beyond what I have before, and I was humbled and humiliated at the same time.

::: 2 :::

I went with my sister, her fiancé and my parents to the doctor the other day to see the first ultrasound of my as-then unidentified niece/nephew. As I stood in the dark, neat little office, I watched, mesmerized, by the pulsing, dancing images on the screen — “This is a person I’m watching…like a real, actual person,” I kept thinking. It was absolutely incredible, to see the head and the feet and the hands, the fingers, the nose, the mouth. It was overwhelming to think that what is currently a small bump in my sister’s belly actually has real feet, hands, and fingers, and a real nose and mouth. Finally, the ultrasound technician was able to make a call on the sex of the baby, and we all held our breath and cried when we heard the word “girl.” We watched as she curled up with her arm over her head, independently dancing to the beating of her own heart (which I call “nature’s techno music”). Even now, I have a photo of her ultrasound tacked to my office wall, and I can’t stop staring at it. I am overcome with how beautiful she is and that I get to know and hold this little person in only four short months. I get to play with her feet and her hands, I get to feel her fingers wrapped around my own, and get to kiss her little nose that turns up just like my sister’s does.

::: 3 :::

I decided to take myself out for dinner the other night. I was over near Reed’s Lake, dropping off a few things at the library, and decided spontaneously to head down to Rose’s, sit on the deck, and enjoy a nice meal. I got seated immediately, at a little table right next to the water (bonus of eating alone and only needing a table for 1!) and decided to start off my date with a glass of wine. I got this amazing Sauvignon Blanc that was so lively and almost bubbly that it danced and buzzed like a battery in my mouth.

Five minutes later, the steel gray clouds that had hovered so ominously all day finally broke and it started raining. Most other people screeched and ran inside, protecting their Coach purses and trying not to water down their cocktails. I put up the large umbrella next to me, scooted under it, and kept enjoying my evening. I had thought about reading, but decided that I didn’t want to use my normal “eating alone” shield; I didn’t want to look like I was embarrassed to be there alone. Once the rain started, I had no choice (for there is nothing I hate more than getting books wet). I sat there, watching the rain scatter itself like diamonds across the water, sipping my wine and feeling like I might explode with contentment. My waitress brought my order out under the protection of a napkin, and I sat there, eating, almost alone except for two ladies who also popped up umbrellas and stuck out their chins.

I went to take a bite of my sandwich (grilled sourdough with white cheddar, pancetta, greens and roma tomato — YUM!), and almost choked when I looked out across the lake. The rain had tapered off and the most perfect rainbow I had ever seen stretched across the water like arms. Sometimes it seems unreal that moments like this can actually exist. I heard one of my favorite Scriptures echo through my mind — “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”

It was the most peaceful, loveliest meal I’ve ever had.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Misterwrite permalink
    June 10, 2009 11:14 am

    Those are some beautiful beautiful moments, thank you. I always INTEND to carry some food with me for just that purpose (just in case they really would use money for drink or drug), but have I done it yet? Nope. Ouch.

    And I’ve seen a few of those ultrasound photos–they always amaze me. A little, living person is right there, totally unaware of me, but I’m peeking in at a moment of her/his private life. “See you soon, little one.”

    I never tire of rainbows. A few weeks ago I was just leaving my yard on a walk when I happened to look back. The entire arc of a rainbow was visible, from horizon to horizon, in vibrant colors. Knowing I only had seconds, I ran back for my camera. When I came outside again the moment had faded and it was hardly visible at all. But I saw it!


  2. Caroline permalink*
    June 11, 2009 8:00 am

    @ Mike:

    Yeah, I thought about going and getting some food, and bringing it back. But not to sound heartless, but the guy just got two huge bags of groceries — I didn’t think one person could carry anything else onto a bus. Probably a poor excuse.

    On the other matters, I find it humbling that we can do everything in the world to create beauty and beautiful things — but the hand of God, in creating human life and rainbows, is always way past anything we can produce.


  3. Kimpot permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:55 pm

    Caroline. Again, I LOVE the way you (wo)man-handle your words. You really do have a gift. I got chills reading bout your dinner-date. Experiencing moments like that make me so happy. Of course, the artist in me wants to capture every single one of those moments whether with a camera or a paintbrush, so I can have it forever… But sometimes it’s better to just enjoy it and have that image burned into my memory forever, instead of on my hard drive or a canvas. And kudos for eating out by yourself (AND not reading a book in order to avoid the eyebrow-raising, “Is that girl eating all by herself??” looks). I still can’t bring myself to go to a nice sit-down place by myself. Guess I’ll av to add that to my bucket list. xx

  4. Noelle permalink
    June 12, 2009 10:30 pm

    My question is why do you care if people raise eyebrows at you reading while eating dinner?

    If you want to read…read.

    And on that note, why would one think anyone is looking at all and thinking anything of it?

    And I guess on that note, why care about eating by yourself at all?

    I think most of society is far passed judging people that are out solo. Being single seems to be in anyways and in modern culture it is normal for men and women to do things by themselves.

    I doubt there are many people noticing enough to raise eyebrows.

    That is all.

    Things are less complicated when you eliminate the worry of how other people perceive you. It never matters if random lady at table next to you lifts her eyebrow a quarter of an inch because you felt like opening a book you were into.

    I just mean to say that you should do things that you want to do because you want to not because other people will see you a certain way.

  5. Caroline permalink*
    June 14, 2009 7:47 pm

    @ Kimmy!

    Thanks so much for all your encouragement. Eating alone feels a little odd at first, but actually, is quite freeing and enjoyable. I can focus on what I’m eating and on the environment around me…sometimes I read, but that night, the scene was too beautiful to ruin with a book.

    I encourage you to try it — really, it’s a wonderful experience. 🙂

    @ Noelle!

    Weeeeellll, lookit you Miss Rantin’-Pants. 🙂 I think you are entirely right that people should do what they want to do for their own reasons. I know for me, my “eating out alone shield” isn’t because I care what other people think, but because I’d rather just not deal with peoples’ questions and pitiful glances. I’d rather just read my book or watch the water and enjoy my meal. They may think whatever they’d like, that’s their insecurity, not mine. If they are uncomfortable eating alone, that says something about them, not me.

    Anyway, glad to see that you are still chock full of sass, little lady bird. 🙂

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