Today was a typical West coast Monday.
1. Skies the color of wet cement.
2. Humidly index heavy enough to hold in your hands.
By noon, I just wanted to crawl into bed.
I tried to write.
My attempts fell somewhere between Little House on the Prairie and Blues Clues.
My level of logic and finesse defiantly targeted the demographic that still picked their noses in public. None could tie their shoes.
I went on Facebook.
Not one comment printed the way it sounded in my head.
Awkward is sort of my thing. Always has been. Even when talking out loud.
· Once, I asked a friend when her baby was due.
She was not pregnant.
· Another time I asked after the health of someone only to find he was deceased.
How was I to know?
· I complemented a newly engaged girl on the fact that she was an inspiration to all the women who think that they would never find a man.
Someone put me out of my misery before I open my mouth in public again.
During my tutoring sessions today, I worked the keyboard as if I had just failed a breathalyzer test. Personally, I think it was the crumbs under the keyboard sabotaging my ability to function. Not the most productive sessions.
I felt Useless. Ineffective. Almost destructive.
That’s when God spoke to me. No weird shapes in the clouds or eerie voices coming from the supplies closet.
My discouragement took a hike. My logic wondered down a random trail.
It started with a meeting about filling out a form.
It developed into a conversation about a song, On My Own from the musical Les Misérables.
Eponine, a teenage urchin, longs for connection from the one person who has shown her attention.
All night, she wanders the streets imagining him by her side. The very thought of his presence transforms the dismal city into a wonderland of beauty.
“In the rain,” she sings “the pavement shines like silver.”
But, the dawn brings reality.
“The river’s just a river” she confesses, “The trees are bare and everywhere –
the streets are full of strangers”.
This musical, adapted from the 1862 French novel by author Victor Hugo, rings true today.
We live in a world of strangers.
Neighborhoods of isolation .
Workplaces shoulder-to-shoulder with loneliness.
So many Eponines wander the streets. They cross my path throughout the day.
How could I think I had nothing to give?
I can take the time to look another person in the eye. To listen to their story. To feel their pain.
It may not make the west coast rain go away or the pavement “shine like silver”.
But, I can connect with another human being.
In the “streets of full of strangers” that fill our world, there’s room for one welcoming smile.
So what if it’s awkward. It’s mine to give.