Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dancing Between The Good Things

Today I had to run to the grocery store -- no food for dinner -- fill up my gas tank, take my bike in for its flat tire and quite a few other errands all at the end of the day.

The grocery store was my final stop.
My in-and-out-one.
My super quick - I can do this in 15 minutes one.

Nice try.

As I was walking and concentrating on that list in my mind, Jeff came up.

Jeff is one of those people that lives in my town but I only see in one place ever:
the grocery store.

I see him at all times of the day.
He hangs out at the grocery store.
He's older...usually has his black backpack in the cart along with one or two items.
The grocery store is his community.

Jeff is someone that some people avoid.

He's eccentric.
He's loud.
He's out there and just by talking to him he puts you out there too.

Before Patrick, I would have considered my grocery list more important than Jeff.

I would have felt uncomfortable...and hurried...and bugged by this guy.

But after Patrick, my heart cracked open in a way where now every little person on the planet counts.
There are no randoms.

I don't discount the interruptions.
The sideways detours.
The super bizarre roundabouts that life takes me on.

Because of Patrick, I've been talking to Jeff for years.
Saying hi at first.
Listening to his math stories -- because he is a math genius.
The rumor is that he was a high level math instructor somewhere.
Over the years, I've given him my address so he could write me a letter.
"You never have to write back. It's ok. I just like to have people to write to."

He's found out about my job with teachers and asks about them...or my family.

Seeing Jeff at the store is a spot of sunlight.
He makes me pause and helps me know what's important.

Often, he will say something that will soak into my heart like it was a parched slab of earth.

Tonight was one of the best.
I asked him how he was doing.

"Oh," he says, "I'm dancing between the good things."

I smiled.
He went on...letting me know that it is our choices that make our life.
Our attitude that determines if our life is good or bad.
That we can change the day even in the middle.

Just what my parched heart needed to rain down.

Dancing between the good things.
What if we did dance in the hard spots?
Instead of laying down...or curling up in a ball...or sitting alone through the crap...
what if we danced?

What if we believed in that deep down way of Jeff that the good things were mere dots that needed connecting? 
The blank space left for dancing?


After his explanation about how having a positive attitude can make everything better.
He paused.
Suddenly, shy and embarrassed.

Like he had an invisible sand timer that suddenly ran out.

He looked up and said, "I should let you get shopping." 
"I'm practicing my social graces."

And with that, he abruptly turned his cart around and went off down the aisle.

Silly Jeff.
He doesn't need to practice any social graces.
He's dancing between the good things.
His grace is pretty obvious.

The rest of us might need some practice...but not Jeff.

Here's to dancing...
and living your life out loud.
Here's to beauty found in the grocery store...and grace freely given...
even late on a school night.