In sixty minutes I pick my daughter up from her drama class. And with that purpose in my mind, I find myself at our local Smart and Final picking up a few last-minute dinner items with my wife. Looks like we are having homemade pizzas. Wolfgang, eat your heart out.
Still, and as always, my camera and iPad shadow me and I cruise the aisles to the vegetable and dairy section. Based on past experience, I have to confess, I am only semi hopeful of being accepted. Interiors of super markets have just not been my bag.
Yep… I’m guessing I’m quite an avoidance target; after all, doesn’t everyone carry fifteen pounds of camera and flash equipment with them to the supermarket.
I’m prepared for rejection, but the clock is ticking and it would be weak of me to let fear of situation get the best of me. So I commit to my hellos.
My wife is focused on cheese, and as she peruses the Mozzarella, I see a graceful woman turning our way. My stomach jitters, not a usual sensation for me. Is it telling me to leave her to her privacy, or the opposite? Bottom line, I am uncertain and the only way to know for sure what my gut it is telling me is to approach this possible friend.
“Excuse me, please forgive me for the interruption. I’m shopping with my wife, that’s her over there. I’m a photographer working on a documentary project, it’s called 365…” and I give her the elevator speech.
This lovely lady listens quietly, and as I nervously silence myself, she responds, “You look like a nice Jewish man (well part of me is), I’d be glad to be in your project.”
I’m almost a little embarrassed by my new friend, Lisa’s, ID of me. But it turns out to be a sweet icebreaker for the two of us. We talk of our Jewish mothers, and of shared traditions. Got to love the Matzo Ball soup, and funny enough, that is exactly what I had for lunch today, sans the loving motherly words, “Have another bowl dear.”
Immediately it is apparent to me that Lisa is connected to something quite special. Her skin and smile are radiant with kindness and an acceptance of my 365 efforts.
In writing this entry, I am experiencing a first; Lisa has already commented on her Facebook about our meeting, and I am wholly humbled. I’d like to re-publish some of her words, not for the purpose of self-gratification, but to show the other side of the experience. You see… it is somewhat intimidating to approach a stranger – and know that I am red-faced sharing her words (especially the sweet looking man stuff).
“I wanted to share an amazing experience I had tonight! I went to the market for my weekly shop and of course was in a rush as I am constantly juggling ten things at once. As I rushed through the produce section, I was approached by a sweet looking man with an iPad and a camera, “Oh No” I thought! Seems we are always being approached by strangers, “Free Movie Tickets, Lady?” “Will You Vote For This, Lady?” I would normally move on, “I’m So Sorry, I Need To Pick Up My Child!” I would utter as I rushed off. Somehow, this stranger held me spellbound! He explained to me that he had a goal…”The Goal, every day for an entire year, approach one stranger, photograph them and blog the experience. He simply asked me two questions, “If you could give a single message to the world, what would it be?” and “Where would you like to see the world in 5 or 10 years?” I found this man so incredibly interesting that we stood there and chatted for 20 minutes about life, love, family, karma, world peace and spirituality! I have always said that Everything happens for a reason and nobody is a stranger!
My thoughts in approaching Lisa were purely to ask for her help in building the 365 community, and to have received such a response only lengthened my commitment to do so. In letting you read Lisa’s words, my aim is to motivate all of us to reach-out, and as Lisa says, “Everything happens for a reason and nobody is a stranger!
That is a global concept for us all to glean.
“I grew up in a mixed religion home. My Dad was Christian and my Mom Jewish. It was hard, and through this I discovered my own true spirituality, not any particular religion, just the realization that God is God,” Lisa elaborates about her upbringing.
Lisa mentioned of our twenty-minute conversation, and the depths of what we talked of. For the sake of giving you a break to my rantings and to further the counsel of Lisa, I pull a few quotes from her Facebook:
“In the end, what will matter is how much we loved ~ our children, our mates, our families, our friends, everyone we knew, everyone who traveled with us during our brief visit to this unbearably lovely place. What will matter is the good we did, not the good we expected others to do.”
“Recognizing, accepting and expressing our authentic interior reality lies at the heart of honesty; only when we are honest with ourselves can we speak honestly with anyone else. In the sense of integrity, honesty entails acting in line with higher laws despite negative impulses to the contrary.”
“Tell me what you know and you will entertain me, but tell me how you feel and you will intrigue me.”
Lisa tells me, “I wish for a future where people are more highly evolved. A world where more connect as a whole at a spiritual level, rid of oppression, war and contention, and a people able to connect regardless of religion.”
Lisa, you have told me how you feel, and have humbled me with your kind words. I must say, I am truly intrigued and it is wonderful to call you, friend.
Perhaps our shopping paths may cross again. I think you are right when you say, Nobody is a stranger!