It’s a good day when you get out of bed yourself. Or so says eighty-seven year old Jackie Brewer. This is not his real name, but I met a real man yesterday, a kind man. His watery eyes sparkled with years of experiences of joy and of pain. And I am a better person for it today. Us, as strangers, shared stories, and found the degrees of separation between us were not so far apart…
He had just come from visiting his wife who has Alzheimer’s disease. He had taken care of her at home for as long as he could. I told him that my mother has Alzheimer’s disease too, and I had just spent time with her over the holidays. Even though she doesn’t know me anymore, we still had precious time together. He looked at me with a knowing heart, as all those that are affected by a family with Alzheimer’s…and we established an immediate connection.
From there, the conversation expanded. We reached to find out more about each other. He owned and operated his own pharmacy for many years, until the chains took over…He has a son that is a musician, and they just watched the Vienna Philharmonic on television, as they do every New Year’s together. His son has been on that stage, and “it really isn’t as big as it looks anyway.” We both chuckled. I spoke of my one traffic light hometown, and he knew exactly where it was. He and his wife went on vacation not too far from there. Mr. Brewer told me that he was related to Judy Garland, and oh, did she have a voice. “She changed her last name, you know,” he said. But neither of us could remember it. We looked at each other briefly, with the worry of not remembering…
We spoke for a little while longer, embracing the kindred feelings of sharing kindness~
Yesterday, I was blessed to connect with a total stranger on an intimate level, a personal level of shared experiences that truly speaks to the interconnectedness of all of humanity. We are truly small fish moving around in this huge ocean of life together, and many times, we don’t even know it.
Imagine if we could allow ourselves the vulnerability to intimately connect with more and more people, discover and embrace the experiences we share–the power we would have.
If we could open ourselves to move in the same direction, swimming around the obstacles together in grace, in solidarity, towards a common goal of spreading love and peace, could you imagine the power of change we could hold in this world?
Try and open yourself up to a stranger today. You never know what might happen. We can propel each other forward, give each other strength to get out of bed ourselves, and have a good day.
Thank you, Mr. Brewer, for sharing your kind heart. Thank you, as you said goodbye, for holding both of my hands in yours, looking into my eyes, and sincerely saying, “Bless you.” You made my day, and made me a better person with your connection.
Only peace, only love~
P.S. If you have a story, a picture, a video of kindness, I would love for you to share it.