So I’ve been working on squelching the “conversations in my head” that distract me from awareness of the present. Technically, I don’t intentionally construct these conversations; the talking takes flight when I’m walking the dog, in the shower, trying to get to sleep, or even when I’m reading something that isn’t engaging enough to talk over those other voices. Anytime I’m not consciously attentive, fixing my attention on what I’m doing, the chatter begins. I want to not speculate or fantasize about my life so much as I am aware and engage with the world around me.
A few days ago, I read Frederick Buechner’s definition in Wishful Thinking. Angels are powerful spirits whom God sends into the world to wish us well. Since we don’t expect to see them, we don’t. He states, “an angel spreads his glittering wings over us, and we say things like ‘It was just one of those days that made you feel good just to be alive…” Hmmm, I wonder.
Then, I went to the grocery store, the smaller local one with not so many people crowding the aisles. It was early afternoon. I saw my mailman who had a day off and a regular cashier at the store who was a shopper today. I noticed her stop briefly to ask a quite elderly couple how they were doing.
The couple walked side by side both leisurely pushing their cart. He was clearly in charge of getting items off the shelves as she held fast onto the cart’s handle. As they neared, I took notice, looking up from my grocery list.
Determined to “pay attention” I purposely looked into the lady’s eyes, a kind of silent greeting. She lovingly looked back, a sparkle in her gray blue eyes who’d seen many more years than me.
It happened so effortlessly. She put two fingers to her lips; kissed them and pushed her hand gently but squarely toward my forehead, holding my gaze.
I’m not sure what I believe about angels. But she did wish me well without words. I sensed a tangible blessedness to be in that moment.