Yesterday, my daughter Karly had a tough day, she learned that she had just lost her job. It was a new role as a Project Lead and she was very excited about it. Due to funding cut backs, the grant money that had been promised had to be taken back by the state, so, too, Karly’s position. She was devastated.
But, life goes merrily on its way and so we must do what we do. And, off Karly went to get groceries.
A short note about my girl here. From day one, Karly has been the kind of human that has never met a stranger. She is Native American and Anglo. She has deep brown/black eyes and dark brown hair (well most of the time – she is 25, it gets colored quite often). But, there is something about her that is approachable, attractive and friendly.
People of all kinds talk to her, randomly, often and about all kinds of things, young and old.
Yesterday, as she approached the store there was a gentleman outside the store, who was cold and hungry who asked her for money to get some food. Karly told him she wouldn’t give him money, but, she would be happy to buy him something to eat. She didn’t say anything to him about the fact that she had carefully planned out her shopping list so that she could get everything she needed with the cash she had just withdrawn from the Credit Union. Instead, she asked him what he would like to eat.
He said it would be really nice to have a rotisserie chicken since it was already cooked and hot, it was so cold outside. Karly said she would be right back and went in to buy his chicken.
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When she came back out, she gave him the food. She also went over to her car and got out a coat and gave it to him.
She then went back in to the store to do her shopping.
She carefully went through the store checking off each item on her list and adding everything up so she did not go over the total dollar amount she had in cash. As she proceeded to the check-out lane and was getting ready to cash out the gentleman behind her in line told her he was going to pay for her groceries.
She was completely caught off guard.
He told her he had seen her act of generosity and kindness to the man in front of the store and he wanted to pay it forward by buying her groceries. He insisted and paid for everything.
This is the America I choose.
Where we craft lives of service toward each other with simple acts of grace and dignity. A meal and a warm coat. An acknowledgment of a kindness.
In the rumble of our differences there are all manner of similarities, all manner of commonalities.
All we have to do is show up and pay attention. We only lose if we give up. This is the America I choose, not red or blue but a rainbow of possibility.