May I tell you a story? Within the past several weeks, I have had something entirely aberrant and unexpected happen to me on two separate occasions. One uncommon occurrence is maybe worth an Instagram mention, but two in less than a month is worth a full blog post. Am I wrong?
Here's the deal. I went out to dinner. A very nice, long-awaited dinner. (And I do not use the term "long-awaited" lightly, it had been planned for over a year.). It was everything I had hoped it would be - I had a new dress, the best of companions, perfect weather, and my hair had actually turned out the way I had hoped. My smile was at its largest by the time our server came to the table and, rather than handing us a hefty check, told us that our meal had been payed for by a couple sitting several tables away. Total strangers. I was taken to dinner by two people to whom I have never spoken.
Now this has never happened to me before, and as my mind raced and 'thank yous' to our waitress (who was just as astonished as we were) poured from my lips, I could not conjure up the proper response. My "logical" brain, which has the obnoxious power to turn everything simple into an utter paradox, was racing fast to contrive some explanation for why.
"Did they know that I had been in tears just moments before I walked into my long-awaited evening? No, they couldn't, I had pulled the old careful cry. You know, the one that you do when you don't want to mess up your eyeliner."
"Did they know that this month had presented a hefty load of challenges that made lightness of heart slightly more difficult than usual?"
There was no answer. They had to chosen to be kind without cause or obligation, and I could not even thank them. They were gone, and I was there sitting and smiling and utterly surprised.
Two weeks later, it happened again. This meal was not planned to the last minute detail or anticipated for weeks on end, but it was my lunch, and before the payment could be offered, a women darted in front of me and slid her credit card. "Random act of kindness!" she yelled as she darted away with a smile upon her face and two tiny humans holding on to her summery skirt.
My lunch companion and I stared at each other in amazement and I began to wonder if I had an underprivileged vibe about me. Maybe the whole torn-jean hipster look is going too far...
This month has been hard. I had expectations and disappointments. Not all of it was what I wanted it to be, and I have not been happy about that. I have gotten annoyed because my month did not look like I had hoped my last full month of Summer would look like. I have been disappointed because I've felt ill when I have no time to be sick. I have been annoyed because people have hurt me and messed up what I wanted to be a perfect day. MY perfect day. How dare you open your mouth and mess up MY perfect day?
What a princess.
Pedantic Foodie - she is not as perfect as the About the Author page would like to tell you.
Perhaps my August has had more than its preferred share of hurt and disappointment, but it has also been filled with some very special gifts. When those strangers took me to dinner and payed for my lunch, it wasn't about the money that they saved me, it was the fact that they wanted to do something kind for me even though they really had no reason to. That's pretty incredible, especially in a world where people attack each other over clearance-priced televisions.
It made me realize that my month has seemed more hurtful and disappointing because of my perspective. My selfish perspective. August was not about Ashlyn. No month should be about Ashlyn. When I saw the exuberant smile on that woman's face I remembered that I am happiest when I am not thinking about Ashlyn at all, but rather about how I can make the weeks of the people I love a bit more wonderful.
That's what I'm thinking about right now. It's not groundbreaking, and it is certainly not new, but it was a reminder that I needed and something I wanted to share with you.
I'm sorry it is not cookies. They will have their turn soon.