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I think I’ve told you this—or you’ve undoubtedly noticed: I’m the angsty sort. I get wound up about all sort of things—some worthy of the wind-up and some absolutely not. While I’m not ready to label myself a pessimist, I have to admit it’s been easier for me, lately, to see the yuck and the wrong and the not okay.
But the last couple of days have been just… well, they’ve been pretty great.
Yesterday, I volunteered at the Bridge Bread Bake Shop and met Antha Rednote, a Christian rap artist from North County. We had a compelling conversation about homelessness and poverty and race, and when it was time for him to leave, it was the most natural thing in the world to accept a giant hug from the guy—whom I’d known for less than an hour.
Last night, I attended a board meeting for HomeFirst STL. By the end of the meeting, we’d decided to extend supportive housing to not one, but two gentlemen—one of whom is currently squatting in an abandoned house because the car he’d been sleeping in for two years got impounded. I can’t wait to see his face when he receives his keys.
This afternoon, I had lunch with three people for whom I’m doing some writing. One person ordered a side salad, and when it arrived she offered to share it with the rest of us. I declined (I swear I’m still processing a too-much-kale salad I had on Wednesday), but the other two accepted. So the three of them took turns putting piles of spinach and candied pecans and gorgonzola and apple on their tiny, rectangular appetizer plates and commenting on how delicious it was, and as I’m typing this it sounds so incredibly banal, but I’m telling you, it was beautiful. I don’t know if it’s because the person sharing her salad happened to be the boss of the other two or if it was the unexpected display of community or what. But it was lovely and tender and I’m so glad to be working for them.
On my way home, I stopped at QT for gas and a sweet tea (judge me if you must), and when I turned to put the lid on my cup, I was met by a woman, obviously out of breath, leaning on the counter.
“Oh, sorry,” she said.
“No worries,” I replied.
Before I could ask if she was feeling okay, she said, “Girl, I wish I was your size.”
I did my awkward laugh. (How is one supposed to react to a comment like that?)
“Don’t get me wrong,” she added. “I love myself, but if I had your shape, I’d have all kinds of men.”
“You’d want more than one?” I asked.
She burst into laughter. “Girl, you right, you right. Sometimes one’s more than I can handle.”
I have absolutely no idea why this exchange feels blog-worthy. But she was just delightful, and her “I love myself” was inspiring because she was easily twice my physical size but had me beat on the self-esteem measure by a factor of 20. I adore that lady. I wish I’d stayed to talk with her for awhile.
Now, one could argue that the only one of these four moments really worth writing about is getting a couple of guys off the streets. But I’m telling you, I felt full-on joy explode in my chest over each one of them, and it’s been a minute or two (or months) since I’ve experienced an emotion quite that pure and lovely. Weird, right? Maybe it’s the sunshine. Or maybe this kind of thing is happening all around me while I’m busy fretting about the presidential election and climate change and my checking account balance.
Is it too late to give up angst for Lent? Because these two days have been just…well, they’ve been pretty great.