Kindness

They Changed His Whole Night

From the busy highway, a long line of vehicles keeps turning left into the crowded parking lot. Every day of the week headlights beckon us in to come, sit, and eat pizza. Massive, Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Have you tried Oreganos? When I noticed the Arizona pizza chain was opening here, I was skeptical. For mysterious reasons, whatever joint went in the vacant restaurant on the busy corner seemed to fizzle and fade away. I’m pretty sure the last restaurant in that space mysteriously caught fire. Nothing seems to stick.

Now freshly opened, the cars keep turning and the parking lot is always full.
We had to know what we were missing.

We’ve been twice now and we’re hooked. Delicious cheese, buttery crust, drinks the size of your face – diners beware – they serve family style meals and when Dylan and I went just the two of us we came home with leftovers for twenty.

So there we were, Friday night, joining the stream of eager eaters. We put our name on the list and we waited. And waited. And waited.

Across the room, perched on a black barstool, was an older gentleman. Wearing a suit, worn leather shoes, red suspenders and a dusty grey Fedora. His aged hands sat folded in his lap, and another couple my age were chatting with him quietly, shoulders leaning in to cut the noise around them.

Many moments past. The waitress called the woman’s name, and the couple stood and said their good-byes to the man as they were led to their table.

And then, moment’s later, the woman my age was back.

“Would you like to eat with us?” she asked the older gentleman leaning gently towards his ear.

I don’t know what he said, but his face magically morphed.Have you seen faces change when loneliness turns to light?

The waiter walked their new guest to the table and he placed his hat on the coat rack near the booth before taking a seat.

I only watched the last few minutes of the exchange. I don’t know why that man was there by himself, dressed up fancy on a Friday night. I do know his eyes looked sad and the invitation from another added just a tiny bit of sparkle.

I started tearing up standing in the foyer.

“You gonna be alright?” Dylan asked, gently poking my side.

“Mmhmm” I nodded with my hand covering my mouth.

As we waited, fires burned, politicians scrambled, hearts broke. Fear and uncertainty abound. But in the busy Italian restaurant, one brave woman asked a simple question and connections were formed. One beautiful gesture.

Those people asked a stranger to eat with them and it changed his whole night. Seeing people need not be difficult.

I hope they had a delightful dinner.

 

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Beam of Light – Cathy H.

I’m so excited to share this beam of light from one of my favorite ladies Cathy. I always appreciate her ability to craft and create with excellence.

Cathy H. 

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My name is Cathy and I live in Lafayette, Colorado. I work with children with special needs in a public school.

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Cathy has previously contributed to 52 Beautiful Things here.

If you are interested in giving your own light, click here to learn more about how you can enter the Give Light Giveaway. I’m accepting submissions through December 31st. 

Thursday Reflection

Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. Stop on Gold.

I saw this poem in my Facebook feed and just wanted to share it. I love it and I think it is thought provoking. Thinking deeply and critically can be beautiful things. What do you think?

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“Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.”

Naomi Shihab Nye

 

“Have Courage and Be Kind”

I don’t remember being totally immersed into Disney’s Princess culture as a little girl. I think I had a Belle Halloween costume, and certainly watched the movies, but my favorite Disney Princess was Pocahontas. I had the sheets, the pillows, the outfit, the accessories. This princess’ connection with nature and rebellious efforts to stand up for her own self were more appealing to me. Hey, fighting for the right to protect who you love is something to stand for, analysis of feminism and colonialism aside.

The only instance I remember of dressing up like a princess was at my fifth or sixth birthday party. We invited the traveling princess lady to come who brought beautiful dresses, and jewels, and would do you and your friends hair and make up to turn you into a vision of a royal lady. My friends had first pick of the dresses. When it was my turn all the proper ensembles had been chosen. I was so mad I locked myself into the bathroom until someone forced me out. Some hostess, some princess I was.

I minored in Women’s Studies, I proclaim feminist views, and still banter with the best of them about the valuable role women play in society and the challenges we face in almost every arena for equal rights and respect for our femininity. However, this week, I watched a movie that made me want to embrace everything amazing about the fairy tale story. I went to see Cinderella with my mom. I haven’t been so giddy since I was six years old, imagining what my princess birthday party could have been like. Needless to say, I loved the film.

This movie is so beautiful. The costumes, the quirky animal characters, the twist on the common tale are absolutely enchanting. I wanted to go home and put on my wedding dress and dance around the room, inviting the little creatures that live in our backyard into our house to play. The sparkles, the glamour, the hope of a better life. There is a sensitivity written into the character of Cinderella that embraces compassion, acceptance, self reverence in light of challenges, and I just wanted to be friends with her. Laugh if you may, but this portrayal was so much more dynamic than the average fairy tale. It takes a lot to get rescued by another person; even more to to be aware of your own choices and how they impact the lives of those around you as you make changes for your own self betterment.

Plus, who doesn’t love Helena Bonham Carter. Can you imagine what it would be like for her to be your Fairy Godmother?

Cinderella’s mother starts off the film by saying, “I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all of the trials that life can give you. Have courage, and be kind.” I’m tucking this nugget of wisdom away, because there exists power in that perspective. I place those words in my heart, and ask myself, in what ways am I living that beautiful mantra today?

Can someone please find me a dress like that to wear? If you watch the movie, let me know when you come across the line, “I can’t drive. I’m a goose!”

Biscotti: None

Essie Nail Polish: Jam and Jelly