Every Face Tells a Story
Every face tells a story. That’s what I (re)learned last night.
Sometimes the best way out of a self-absorbed, self-pitying dark place is to focus on someone else. Anyone else. Someone happier, sadder, less in need, more in need. The only requirements are that it’s not me, and that I pay attention. That’s what I (re)learned last night.
I’ve come to realize, again, that everything worth learning I end up re-learning. Many times. Apparently, if it’s really worth learning it’s worth learning over and over. Maybe it’s because the real lessons in life are hard to grasp. Maybe it’s just that I’m slow.
I started in a terrible mood. I’d just come back from the 2015 Kertay Guy Trip, always exciting and wonderful and yet utterly exhausting, and the next day I had to turn around and leave my loves and get on a plane for work. I should have been working on the plane, and instead I finished a dumb action novel and goofed off, unable to get myself to focus on the several things that are on a tight deadline.
To which I responded as I often do, by beating myself up.
If feeling crappy about myself were an Olympic sport, I’d be a contender. Last night I missed the gold only because I only almost talked myself out of an opportunity to spend some time with a dear friend and to meet her new man, thinking that I wouldn’t be good company. But only almost.
Thankfully, I went. Thankfully because I had to pull my head out of my ass long enough to pay attention to where I was going in this big city. Thankfully, because I got to (re)learn that usually, life isn’t about me.
What I Saw
My time with my friends was lovely, and fun, and just the tiniest bit clunky the way that sorta nerdy, sorta introverty people are with each other. And it got me outside my own head long enough to see …
My two friends, walking away, holding hands. It was the hands that did me in.
Later, a young couple on the train, cuddling up and kissing. Happy, yet there was a sadness that I didn’t understand. I found myself making up a story: they were in love, they came from different sides of the street, her parents didn’t approve. All they wanted was to be together, and in that moment they were, yet lurking was the knowledge that it might not be, that the world’s disapproval might win in the end.
A woman, older, probably drunk, certainly exhausted, almost certainly homeless, eating crackers and cheap chicken salad and a Perrier. Maybe stolen, maybe bought with panhandled money, maybe bought with a couple of bucks earned from menial labor, maybe bought with the little bit left for dinner from her minimum wage job. I had no way of knowing. But her face told a story, and it touched my heart.
Maybe it was dumb, but I figure she needed that $20 I left her as she slept more than I needed it.
What will you let yourself see today that will make a difference?
Dr. Les Kertay