I was standing next to a stranger waiting for a table in a restaurant when a commercial for the PGA Golf Tournament came on a nearby TV. Tears sprang to my eyes as I thought about my dad and how much he loved golf.
My friend Annie would often get him tickets to this annual Labor Day event in Massachusetts and my dad really enjoyed watching the pros play.
As I sat down to have lunch, a wave of sadness washed over me as I looked around the restaurant at the customers eating their meals. How many of these people seem fine but are struggling with their own losses or tough life circumstances, I wondered?
It reminded me of a young man I met several years ago while traveling.
In October of 2012, I traveled to New York to teach a writer’s workshop. When I arrived at the event, I had a chance to meet a few of the attendees before getting on stage. One man approached, introduced himself as Jameal, and I immediately recognized his name as someone I’d spoken to several times during my years of hosting a show on Hay House Radio.
It’s always fun to put a face with a name and I asked Jameal if I might give him a hug. We chatted for a bit and I left to begin the course.
The next morning, I was sitting in the hotel restaurant waiting for a friend to join me for breakfast when I discovered a post from Jameal on my Facebook page. He wanted me to thank me for giving him a hug. “I don’t believe I’ve been hugged in three years,” he admitted in his post.
As I read his words, I couldn’t help thinking: If only I had known…
If I knew it had been three years, I would have hugged him at lunch and during breaks. I might have asked others to hug him, too. Heck, I would have probably invited everyone to hug each other knowing there were probably others in the room who could use a hug, too.
Jameal and I are still in touch to this day.
One of the benefits of dealing with loss is that it makes us more sensitive to others. Each time I find myself in the awkward situation of missing my dad while in public, I’m reminded that the human condition is such that most of the people around me could use a hug or at least a little more love. This makes me a kinder woman, more patient, and less judgmental.
It’s a good practice, a comforting one even, to look at strangers in this way.
Give it a try.
Today, while grocery shopping, sitting at the beach, riding the subway, or waiting in line somewhere, look around and imagine what might be going on behind the scenes for those you see.
Then quietly send them a little love .
PS – Our October “Self Care by the Sea” retreat has less than 10 spots left so if you plan to join us, be sure to register, here.
PPS – There will be no Facebook Live this week. You can view past shows on my YouTube channel at CherylRichardsonTV here.
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