to the beautiful strangers

cropped-img_5633.jpgi’ll likely never see you again, but that doesn’t matter. the smile or uplifting word you shared, without being prompted, when we were smashed together in the same moment of life, those are the things that matter.

i can recall so many instances when i met beautiful strangers on the airplane, on the bus, in the train car, passing on the street, or waiting out the same sentence in a drab lobby somewhere.

sometimes those beautiful strangers dance their way back through my memory and i can recall the wittiest fellow at the airport, leaning by the trashcan, making a comment when i tossed an orange peel. the comment led to some of the best banter and pun exchange i have yet to match. or the punk teenager that i judged too quickly, before his head turned my way and he smiled with such gusto that i wondered if he knew me, or the person next to me, or the entire train car. or the speech pathologist who works on pine ridge and made sure to comment on the sublime goodness of our meeting simply because of our commonalities. or the colombian mom of two who grinned graciously, with just the hint of encouragement i needed, to exclaim in broken sentences how happy i was to see my backpack arriving on the carousel. or the struggling student who wanted to start a club on his college campus to promote soul-searching among his peers.

these are the beautiful strangers with whom you connect on the simplest level. when i am actively doing life and it serendipitously and temporarily merges with another’s, i find that i am more apt to be myself- in all of its glory and groans. if i could gather all of the beautiful strangers together in a room, they could map out pieces of my life and history in a way that many close friends could not do. in turn, i too could tell you the impression the lady traveling from oregon had on me when she began to divulge about her divorce- ten years in the past, but with a pain still fresh. or i could point to the fellow who owns an organic farm in the czech republic and talk about his views on feminism in spirituality.

whether in line at the grocery store or riding to the same city, we are all in this life together- and meeting beautiful strangers just reminds us of that.

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