Slow Down

“I like your hair.”  The air was chilly and I was in a hurry to get my groceries.  “I really like your hair.”  I look around to see who was talking.  A couple of cars from me in the parking lot was a diminutive lady with short, white hair and she was looking straight at me.  I point to myself as a way of asking if she was talking to me.  She shook her head yes.

“Why, thank you,” I responded and started to continue on my way to the store.  After all, I had a long list of items on my “to do” list that I needed to get accomplished and this was only the first stop.  The stranger wanted to stay engaged in conversation, though.  “What salon do you go to?”  she asked.  I told her, all the while thinking that I need to go because I have so much to do.  Our conversation, however, continued and she started talking about her family, her living situation, how well she was doing health-wise.  Gradually, I let go of my own immediate need (which was actually a want), and really started to listen to this kind woman whose only apparent need at the moment was to connect with someone.  As I realized that she was probably lonely, I relaxed and focused on her, giving her my full attention.  After twenty minutes or so of exchanging pleasantries, we parted company.

I thought about her the rest of the day and others like her who might be lonely despite being amongst people.  How many times had I brushed someone off or walked by them without really looking at them when, if I had slowed down and taken a moment, I could have possibly made a difference in their day? People need to stay connected with other people, they need to be heard and appreciated.  Time.  Attention.  Conversation.  A smile. What small things to give.

Our paths have never crossed again, but I will always remember the elderly lady that talked with me in the parking lot.  She is a constant reminder to slow down and connect with those around you in some way.  That is much more important than finishing any to-do list.



4 thoughts on “Slow Down

  1. What a sweet yet powerful piece. You made me connect to my grandmother and the importance of calling her in the rush of my own day because that’s the highlight of hers. Thank you.


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