An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Monday, September 7, 2009

In which I feel like a heel but learn a valuable lesson

Yesterday I was checking out at the grocery store when I saw an old neighbor of my parents standing behind me . . . and I pretended not to see her.

She was always a bit crotchety and, since it had been a long time, I figured she probably wouldn't remember me.

That's what I told myself, anyway, as I ignored that inner voice telling me to be charitable and reach out to her.

I walked out without saying anything.

However, as I was backing out of my parking space I noticed her leaving the store and heading to her car which, I realized with a sigh, was parked right next to mine.

I came this close to driving away anyway (I am ashamed to admit this).

But that inner voice spoke up again, so I begrudgingly rolled down my window:

-Mrs. Robertson, do you remember me?
-Oh, of course! How are you? How are your parents?
-They are doing well. Do you have plans for Labor Day?
-Actually, no. My husband is in the hospital with pneumonia.
It doesn't look good.

Suddenly, I had all the time in the world as I gave her my undivided attention. Later, I realized what a valuable lesson this had been. How often have I not bothered to reach out? How often have I missed the opportunity to comfort, encourage, or help someone? How often . . .

Evidently, lately, much too often.

But not anymore. I am listening to that inner voice.


Therese said...

Bia-thanks for sharing's a lesson we all need!

Laura said...

Oh my ...I am so encouraged by your example.
Being a teacher...I often want to duck away from people.
You connected with her and made her feel good.
Great example indeed.

Tiziana said...

Cara Maria, mi hai fatto molto riflettere e, conoscendomi, dovrò farmi un bell'esame di coscienza.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

We had a message at church on this once.

I have to admit, after being in a room with 20+ people all day, sometimes talking to people is the last thing I want to do afterschool--except on facebook or similar where it's limited. (I don't usually even enjoy talking on the phone.)

This post made me realize I could change, but I rarely see people I know outside of church and work. To see a former neighbor of my parents would make me cry, and I know we'd stop and miss them together (my mom died in 91 and my dad in 2000.)

But still I can give a moment more, even to strangers.

Kathryn said...

Its true, sometimes it feels easier to just walk away...but I have always found it is better to listen to that voice. I don't always, but I'm always glad when I do.
I'll be praying for her husband.

Lisa said...

This is such a good lesson, Bia. I've done this and been tempted to do this more times than I care to admit. I wouldn't wonder if "chance meetings" like that never are by chance at all.

:o) mg said...

Been there. I agree with Lisa - there are no coincidences. But it sounds like the odds that I will follow through on that little voice run about par.

GrandmaK said...

Another lesson for me today as I return to the real world after the last of our treks...Thank you!!! Cathy

Damiano e Irene said...

Cara Maria, qualche volta la sento anch'io quella vocina e anche se all'inizio costa fatica ascoltarla... poi porta sempre a qualcosa di buono! Anche Damiano sente quella vocina... ma dice che a volte vince lui!! Eh si', forse noi donne siamo un po' piu' sensibili :-)

Kim H. said...

Sometimes it's even the lonely person you talk to at the bank that you don't even know. Little do we know -- may be they're angels in disguise. ;)

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing this lesson with all of us - it is obviously one many of us must remind ourselves of.

It always amazes me, too, that I feel blessed as much as the other person, when this happens. How often I fail to realize that my reaching out to others feels good because God intended me to extend myself as His hands and His feet.