I do not think it coincidental that certain acquaintances—you know, those ones that you have pretty much pegged as to personality and role in your life because you only see them in specific settings—suddenly surprise you by revealing a wholly new and different side.
While making a stop at a bank this morning, I greeted, quickly and in passing, someone I kind of knew in a community organization. I was just being "nice" by saying hello. In short, this was someone I do not know terribly well and only have the lightest of interaction with on any random day of the year.
To my surprise, this person started chatting vigorously, first about small things such as running errands, and then leapfrogging to larger topics. In a few seconds, we were having a quick, intense discussion about time, about personal possessions and their ultimate meaninglessness ("I still have my father's 8th grade report card," the individual, probably on the other side of 65, said), and about death and dying. All upbeat, all surprisingly simpatico with my own views, and none of it what I would have expected from such a brief encounter from someone I really didn't know.
We parted on exuberant terms, each of us buoyed the way you in the way you are when you have a discussion—with a stranger, an acquaintance, a friend—that touches you deeply.
As I walked home, I found myself thinking of the Bible verse about entertaining angels. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:2) I do not believe I was chatting with an angel back at the bank, but I would not discount the encounter having been blessed with the brush of angels' wings. I imagined a few downy feathers drifting down over us, not unlike the tiny ones that connect under out bed when we use the down comforter all winter.
We have been through a lot of changes and challenges around here lately. While most of them have been positive, all of them have added to the already full pace of our lives. Add to that the two holiday concerts, approaching with the deliberate acceleration of a steam locomotive, and you have a pretty good picture of where Warren and I are these days.
While I write this, sitting at the kitchen table, Warren is expected through the door shortly, so we can go volunteer (for the Symphony) at an annual pig roast put on by our senior organization, Council for Older Adults. From there, we are slipping down to Columbus for the first of the summer movie series. Tonight, it is "Casablanca," a film I love. As I write this, I can glance over and see a stack of notes on a very special project I plan on starting this weekend. And as I write this, my son Sam is in a car somewhere between there and here on his way to Ohio.
Last summer, I also wrote about angels, angels with big feet. Hump, diddywim tum...Hump, bump, stunt. I wrote that I could use some of the angels shaking things up in my life.
One of my big footed angels is on his way home right now.