When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. — Ernest Hemingway.
When I began this weekly series ten weeks ago, I wanted to write these posts in such a way that they came across as inspiring and somewhat personal. I didn’t want them to sound “preachy” or Pollyanna-ish, ‘cause trust me, I’m far from being a Pollyanna.
Usually a memory will trigger a topic or they’ll come from a stranger I meet. This one was inspired by someone very close to my home and heart — my handsome hubby who always inspires me. He is the most decent human being I’ve ever met and although, he’s not perfect, he’s always had a innate sense of empathy and charity — of seeing life and situations through others’ eyes.
A Brief History
Just a brief note about how I met him. Over a decade ago, I was in radio and a well-known radio team in the area was hosting a charity remote. I was acting as co-host with them for a charity that asked for donations of money or musical instruments to give to inner-city schools. It was a wonderful organization that promoted cultural and artistic after-school activities for latch-key kids.
When I saw him milling about in the crowd and making a donation, I nudged one of radio colleagues and said something about this guy that would later become my husband. I won’t say what I said here, but my colleague friend said, “What don’t you go talk to him at the next break?”
“No,” I said, “if he wants to talk to me, he can come up to me.” I was into one of those I’m-a-single-woman-and-don’t-need-a-man-to-make-me-happy phases in my life.
“Besides,” I said, “he’s probably either an a-hole or he’s gay.” (I have nothing personal against a-holes — dated plenty of them and I had so many gay friends, I really didn’t need another one to go to all the gay parties I used to go to at that time).
Later, during a break, he DID come up to me (and that took cojones because he could’ve become fodder for some radio-talk that they often did if I dated a guy) and he knew all this. Anyway he was all clumsy and dropping things when I talked to him which I thought was so wonderful. We ended up having a drink later that night and talking the entire night. From that day on, we haven’t stopped talking and I married him about two years later. Ah, those chance encounters.
ANYWAY, back to my inspiration for this post. Saturday night, hubby called on his way home from work (he was on a decent shift and we were able to have a nice Saturday night, rare for us). I was preparing burgers to cook on the grill and I asked him to stop by the Costco wine store to pick up some wine for dinner.
I’ll be home in about twenty minutes he told me. Forty-five or so minutes later he pulled up in the driveway. I asked him what took so long.
He’d been walking into the wine store when a lady approached him in the parking lot. He said she spoke broken English and was very upset. She needed food to feed her children. My husband went with her into Costco and she picked out some items and he bought her the food she needed.
When they walked out of the store, he gave her the bags and she thanked him profusely, pressing a twenty-dollar bill in his hand. He didn’t want to take it, tried walking away, but she followed him and insisted that he did. He said she acted as if it would be insulting if he didn’t take it. She had tears in her eyes and she took the bags and walked away. She most likely lived nearby — somewhere.
“I felt like an a-hole for taking the twenty, but she wouldn’t stop telling me to take it, take it.”
“Maybe it was her pride, honey. It was important to her. You’re so wonderful for listening and stopping to do this.” Yeah, that’s who I married.
We’re not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we try to give when we can. I think most people do. The amount really doesn’t matter — it’s the giving and the empathy and understanding that matters the most. It can change lives. I’ve seen it.
So, that’s my Monday musings for this week. To borrow a phrase from one of my all-time favorite movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, my husband, “He’s a righteous dude.”
Happy Monday everyone and for a little inspiration press play below. Ms. Lauper has a beautiful way of expressing empathy. .