on a tired evening after a long day at school

i arrived for my hair appointment

already ready to be home

 a stylist new to me

was running late

quite a patient person by nature

i felt myself becoming impatient

really wanting to be done and home

and on and on about me

finally she was ready

 we took the elevator and headed upstairs

 thinking about waking up at 4:30 the next am.

   i sat down in her chair

sensing she had been through something

while she worked we began to talk about our lives

she shared things with me:

she can only work 3 days at a time and then needs 2 days off

due to a chronic illness that has affected her leg

(ah, the elevator)

she is one of eight children raised by a single mother

she was a very young mother years ago

she loves her daughter, granddaughter, and mother dearly

she is sharing rides with a co-worker as her car is not working

she doesn’t always have dinner or time for it

this was her last week at the salon

she needed some down time to recover

she would love to have her own little salon one day

she spoke of other joys and challenges in her life

determined not to give up and make the best of things

such a strong soul

 i felt ashamed for my impatience

happy i had waited and not expressed it

i had nothing to complain about

 she was an incredible person

still kind and happy

 still in the midst of overcoming hard things

i tried to offer encouraging words

wished her well

gave her a restaurant card i had in my wallet

 as we parted ways

i was reminded to always consider the other person

wait before reacting or rushing to judgement

we really have no idea what someone’s life is like

i thanked her

so very grateful for the lesson.

“let the first impulse pass, wait for the second.”

-baltasar gracian




80 responses »

  1. This is an experience I especially made when living in France, in relatively close contact with African friends. It was unthinkable to truly understand each other. We came from different worlds. I learned to listen for long, long intervals w/o offering ‘my advice’, just listening …. difficult for someone like me with a super fast mind, seing ‘solutions, possibilities’, rather impatient by nature.
    I DID learn tremendous amounts of everything valuable in life. Patience, understanding, the fact that we ‘can’t win them all’, acceptance on a level I didn’t think possible….. so your experience is ‘just another one’ of many. Mine also made my life better as I now can simply marvel at how different ppl are and how they still manage and cope with so many (to me) unknown obstacles in their lives AND get through.
    A wonderful post. Thanks Beth

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great lesson for all of us, Beth. Someone’s problems are always worse than our own, and as humans, we often don’t know the backstory. I love the way you shared this. If I were still in education, I would take a story like this and include it when teaching children the same concept.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This exact thought has been on my mind a LOT lately. Not just that I need to be more interested in others, but others need to be more interest in ME. I feel often that my “friends” don’t even know me. The weirdest, most oblivious stuff comes out of their mouths and I think, “OK, do you see me at ALL? Have you heard ANYTHING?” Then I think it’s probably my fault for not standing up for myself more but just letting them rant on at me without ever saying, “Shut up, you superficial, solipsistic POS. Could you for once LISTEN to me? I’m NOT an extension of you or a figment of your imagination.” People are incredibly self-absorbed (me too) and I think social media, Covid, etc. has probably exacerbated that. My best friend here is my best friend because our exchanges go two ways. I love the way you responded to that girl. It’s beautiful ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • i so agree, we all get caught up in ourselves at times and fail to really see/hear others. i especially notice this when online dating. my profile is pretty clear about who i am and what is important to me in life. when someone proudly sends me a photo of him working on dick cheney’s old security team, they really, really don’t get me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A good wait for a poem of weight and gravitas[been waiting to use that word somewhere]. A style of waiting is a hairy situation sometimes. In the calm of an elevator one can refrain from raising the hair on the neck and reach the salon of peace and writing. A small miracle dinner for two souls seems worth waiting for. Sometimes a chat in a salon is as good as sympathy in a saloon.

    Liked by 1 person

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