Walking in Someone's Shoes

Recently, I was out playing golf with my family and before we teed off, there was a couple, a man and a woman, who had shown up just a few minutes behind us, but there were two of them and four of us, and so we let them play ahead of us. 

Around the 5th hole, the couple, very nice people, very upbeat and happy people, introduced themselves, commented on how great our kids golfing was and went on there way. 

Around the 7th hole, we again made some small talk, connected on both being small business owners, how challenging the times have been and not being very good at golf.  The man was very positive, smiled, talked about being grateful to be out golfing. 

And then on the 9th hole, we had to leave and we passed them to say goodbye and the woman stopped me to talk and connect. I really had to go, Jake was late for soccer, kids were whining, but she wanted to connect and so I paused and did what nice, decent people do, connect.

We were talking about golf and being beginners and she then said something like, “Well, my husband (pointing to the man who was with her), he’s 80, and he is a beginner golfer.”  And I was so amazed and impressed that at 80, he was out here, playing golf and looking so young, fit and happy.  And then she said, “Yeah and he has stage four cancer.”  And I immediately in that moment felt a wave of presence over me.  I felt the air, I heard the trees rustle, I felt my feet in my socks in my shoes and I felt my heart pause.  I looked over at the man, her husband, him smiling so cheerfully, so happy, so grateful, wearing his mask, not complaining, not worrying, just enjoying.  

We exchanged names in hope of playing together one day or just for the niceness to know someone. I got into our car as we drove off, hurried to get to Jake’s soccer, the kids complaining and I just felt like how unfair is life and how do we spend so much of our time complaining about things that are so trivial and unimportant.  And how we waste time.  The kids asked what she was talking to me about and you could just tell from my entire being, and I told them, that man, he is 80 and they were like, WOW, and then I told them and he has cancer and is most likely dying.

They didn't understand why he wasn't in a hospital, getting treatment, why he was out golfing in COVID...etc. I explained to them how you never know what another person is going through. You never know where they've been, what has happened to them, what they are dealing with at home, in their job and that it is such a practice to approach people with kindness and openness. And then we talked about how precious time is and to not take it for granted - also a practice.  

It's a hard concept to teach a 6 and 8 year old, it's a hard concept for me to grasp, but an important one to model. I felt grateful I had that moment. It was a reminder to me in a profound way to remember that everyone is on their own path, in their own time, and we are all here to not judge one another, but to be patient, kind and take a rushed moment and pause and connect. Won't we all be that man one day? Maybe not cancer, but something. Won't we all be his wife one day? Loosing someone we love so dearly.  Time is so precious, love is so precious.  

I am often so busy, so rushed, so in my own head about my own concerns and worries - planning, plotting, needing to know, trying to control what really cannot be controlled that for me being present, grateful, in the moment is a practice. I think slowing down helps us to be compassionate, to pause, to imagine what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes.

If we are too busy, we might just miss the most beautiful reminders.

Oh, yes, and also, new Veja's are both online and in-store and as always they are great, easy and a perfect addition for Spring.

Share with me stories or reminders that you have that have woken you up to live more presently, to be more compassionate, to not take time for granted.  I always love to hear your versions and responses.