Yesterday I took my mom out for a celebratory, fully-vaccinated, Mother’s Day lunch. As we were walking to the restaurant a group of four strangers approached us on the sidewalk with a bucket of roses. I assumed they were trying to sell us flowers, or something else, so I started to rush by them.
“Happy Mother’s Day,” one of them said as they thrust out two roses and then handed my mom and I each a little paper bag. “We’re from a local church and we’re just out here wishing all the women we see a Happy Mother’s Day. We hope you have a great day!”
And that was it. They walked away.
I cautiously peeked in the brown paper bag fully expecting something horrific… anthrax or tarantulas or razor-blade filled apples. (Shout out to all my fellow children of the 70’s who had to have their Halloween candy x-rayed at the local fire station. My subsequent 20 years of therapy salutes yours.) At the very least I was expecting a pamphlet detailing all the ways we were going to hell because we were liberal snowflakes wearing face masks.
But instead of certain death or political shaming, I found two Lindor truffles and a card that read, “You are worthy of every good thing that comes your way,” with a handwritten note on the back that said, “I hope you feel loved today.”
I sat there, stunned. They hadn’t lied. They were just a group of nice people being… nice. I’ve been thinking about the exchange and my reaction ever since.
I want to believe that I am a person who believes that people are inherently good, and that strangers will do awesome things for each other simply because it feels good to make others feel good too. But it certainly wasn’t my first thought yesterday when a group of completely benevolent strangers approached my mom and me outside the Sidetrack Bar and Grill in Depot Town.
Maybe it’s because we’ve all been living with a heavy, heavy threat hanging over our heads for fourteen months now. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been around any actual strangers in a long while and I need to re-acclimate to a world comprised of more than my husband and my SheHive office Covid pod. Or maybe I’ve watched too much “news” lately hawking stories about how divided we are - on politics, on vaccinations, on mask wearing, on whether or not asking men not to objectify women is “cancel culture” or, you know… accountability.
Maybe (absolutely), it was a combination of all of these circumstances. And it’s got me square in the feels. I’ve been weepy all night - not with sadness, but with gratitude. Gratitude for four complete strangers that reminded me today how good people can be and how life among strangers doesn’t have to be so scary.
So, if we are strangers (and if we aren’t), I want you to know that I believe that you are also worthy of every good thing that comes your way and my wish for you is that you feel a little less scared about life among strangers again should you find yourself venturing back out into the world.
And I hope you feel loved today.
With much love and gratitude,
Ursula Adams, MSPOD