Making a Friend at the Supermarket…
I’ve been trying to live in the moment and be more present. I am constantly trying to stop and be aware of things around me that I may have missed before. I’m noticing beautiful flowers and birds – so many birds flying in a flock and dipping and swooping without bumping into each other. We could learn a lot from birds. I know I’m guilty of falling into automatic pilot and being oblivious of a lot around me.
The other day my youngest son and I went to the supermarket because I needed rice. Basmati rice to be exact. We recently started to eat more rice as my husband and I navigate a new plant-based diet and are looking for more options. I’m no rice expert. So strolling the aisles I was narrating our actions to my son. (Do you do this? I find I need some interaction and connection even if it’s all me!) I was saying ‘we need to buy some basmati rice. Let’s see what our options are.’ As we were looking at all the varieties, a lovely woman was also looking in the same direction and asked us if we ate a lot of rice. I said in the past no, but we’re starting to eat more. She said then we really should consider buying the 5kg bulk pack as it would be cheaper. Plus everyone knows if you want basmati rice it must be from India or Pakistan. Well I didn’t know that so thanked her for her expertise. She said she had lived in KL, Malaysia and then India so she really knew her rice. If we were ever considering jasmine rice, it must be from Thailand. Well, I feel like quite a rice expert now I must say. This woman was so friendly and inviting and seemed to want to keep chatting, so we did.
I sent my son off to pick up whatever he wanted (dangerous but fun) and we chatted about our children, cooking and life. I should mention that this beautiful woman with chocolate coloured skin was glowing and wearing a small cap over her bald head. I could tell she was going through chemotherapy. I know because I was in the same position 2 years ago. By now I asked her name, Betty, and she was telling my son that she hadn’t been cooking very much as she’d been busy having treatment for breast cancer. She raised the topic so I felt taking the lead was appropriate. I reached out to her forearm and gave it a squeeze and told her I’d been where she is now just 2 years ago myself. She told me her story and we both got teary as we shared a special common experience. I gave her some advice that I’d found helpful and useful and she was very appreciative. Then I told her we had to exchange numbers and go for coffee as we had so much more to talk about. We were sharing our human experience. This is life. One challenge after another and helping each other when we can.
As we parted, Betty asked me for a hug. I said of course and it was magic as we shared a hug in the middle of Coles oblivious to anyone else around. As we got in the car, my young son said ‘Mum, you sure make friends easily!’ I guess I do. I also am grateful that I was moving slow enough to be open and available for such a magical experience to unfold. It makes a tear come to my eye when I think about it and wonder how many other experiences I’ve missed out on. I love that my son is watching me and that I’m a role model. This is a great responsibility and one we as parents can easily forget. Our kids see what we do so much more than hearing what we say. We need to be good humans. Kind humans.
I texted Betty that night to say how much I enjoyed meeting her. She replied and said how wonderful she’d felt all afternoon after our chance encounter and that made me feel even better.
We have a coffee date planned and I’m excited to see Betty. It was a wonderful lesson in slow living and being present. Connecting can be so magical so be the person that smiles first (thanks Gabrielle Reece) and be approachable. We all have the same fears and needs. You won’t be sorry and it will let even more magic enter your life.
When was the last time you made a random friend going through your life? Please share and let’s make this experience a regular thing and not one in a million. #smilefirst