The other day I stopped to grab my husband and I breakfast sandwiches. Due to the time, it wasn’t a quick stop. I arrived with the expected sight of long still lines and hurried staff behind the counter. As time went by, I challenged myself not to distract myself with my phone or the news playing on the television above me.
Periodically I will do this when I am waiting and tempted to make the time pass. This practice helps me focus on staying present and supports me in not needing to be entertained, but rather be completely content observing.
I am so glad I chose this particular moment for my practice and will be forever grateful for what I saw.
I saw a father instruct his teenage son to help a lady with a large order to her car.
I saw the son get up and offer his help without even a slight hesitation.
I saw a mother gently rub her daughters back as they stood in silence waiting for a small shuffle to get closer to the counter.
I saw the manager hurrying around, making sure orders were getting out and checking in on the customers waiting every few minutes with genuine kindness.
I saw a father pick up his coffee then say “Come on beautiful” to his young daughter.
I saw the daughters face light up at her father’s casual statement.
I saw an employee joke with the people in line as he passed out free donut holes.
I saw an elderly couple sit quietly in the corner enjoying their coffee as they watched everyone else, with their lips slightly turned up.
No matter who I looked at, I saw beautiful humanity.
In a time when we are being consistently exposed to conflict and disagreement (especially here in the US during a presidential year) these moment remind me of the light in each of us.
Here we were, all different sexes, races and religions with a common goal of getting some breakfast. There was no hate outwardly expressed. Each of us has our own stories. Each of us has our own struggles and suffering. But we were there together, not allowing any of those stories to affect us in how we treated one another.
Each person in this busy store showed love in some way. There was not frustration or anger, despite the long wait. There were only people respectfully co-existing.
As I walked out the shop 45 minutes later I was so in love with the beauty in people. This simple situation gave me faith in our potential as humans to let love guide and truly exist in peace.
It also was a great reminder of how many times I miss these moments. We all do. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, just waiting for us to look up from our phones or get out of our thoughts.
Beautiful humanity is everywhere around us and it would serve us all if we started to see it.