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Pondering as paths intersect

PONDERING AS PATHS INTERSECT: Today, M and I attended a luncheon at a local country club. I was going to write about the talk we heard, but decided instead to blog about the things in life that we take for granted; the things in life we may not even consider; the things in life that parallel our paths and rarely intersect; the things in life that deepen our awareness.

It all started when I went to the women’s restroom. I was alone in a stall when a group of girls came in. From my hidden vantage point, I eavesdropped on their conversation which was interspersed with such genuine giggling and contagious joviality, that I just sat there and smiled.

“Oh, my gosh! Look at this! Isn’t it gorgeous?” one of them exclaimed.

“Look, there’s marble sinks—two of them!” another chimed in.

“Hey! Check out these fancy paper towels.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Indeed, they had never seen anything like the beautifully decorated women’s restroom. And, if they had never seen such a restroom, I knew that there was much in life these girls hadn’t seen. And I knew that they had seen what many choose not to see.

When I emerged from the elongated stall with the beautiful wooden doors, the girls were surprised. Of course, they had assumed they were alone. This was not a restroom where shoes were easily visible below the stall doors. As soon as they saw me, their giggling stopped, and their unease hung heavy in the silence.

I looked at them and knew that they were disadvantaged. They looked at me and knew that I wasn’t. I figured that they were maybe seventh or eighth graders; they probably figured that I was old enough to be one of their grandmothers. Even though I smiled at them, they shrank away, and as I left, a woman with a name tag came in and told the girls that they were leaving in two minutes. I learned later that the girls were involved in helping with a charitable project.

Our paths intersected.

I thought about the first time I went to a country club. I was older than these girls, in fact, I was in college and was invited to join a foursome for golf. Golf! Having grown up in the inner-city, the only golf I played was putt-putt, but I was determined to give it a swing. I did all right on the tee then assumed that I could bluff my way through the rest. So, on my next stroke, I strode up to the ball and with great confidence placed it on the tee again. Ah, that was my mistake! Who knew?

Looking back, I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and for all the people who have helped me. From not knowing that lights flicker in the restroom to signal the ending of intermission (I thought it was an electrical problem) to finally figuring out the BMW (bread-meal-water) configuration of complicated and cramped table settings, I know that I have been blessed. I hope the girls I encountered today are similarly blessed. I wish them the best.

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