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[ From the Archives of 365 ]

“Tell me what you know and you will entertain me, but tell me how you feel and you will intrigue me.”

In sixty minutes I pick my daughter up from her drama class. And with that purpose in my mind, I find myself rushing through the local Smart and Final, shopping for a few last-minute dinner items with my wife. Looks like we are having homemade pizzas. So Wolfgang, eat your heart out.

Still, and as always, my camera and iPad shadow me and I enter the vegetable and dairy section. And, based on past experience added to our time crunch, I am only semi hopeful of finding a new friend to interview. You see, I’ve learned from many supermarket rejections I was not someplace where it is easy to strike up a conversation.

Prepared for rejection, and with the clock ticking, I redied to reach out. For it would be weak of me to let the fear of the situation get the best of me. So I commit to my hellos.

My wife is focused on cheese, and as she grabs a super-sized Mozzarella, I see a woman turn our way. My stomach jitters, not a usual sensation, for I’ve been approaching strangers for a while now. The question is, is it telling me to leave her to her privacy, or to do the opposite? I am uncertain, and the only way to know for sure what my gut is telling me is to approach this her.

“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… ” I give her the elevator pitch.

She listens quietly, and as I nervously silence myself, ready to receive her I’m not interested, 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 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 our shared traditions, and as we do, it is apparent to me that Lisa is connected to something quite special. Her skin and smile radiant with kindness, she has accepted me into her life, and I am honored to stand by her side.

In writing this entry, I have to sidestep in sharing a first; Lisa has already commented on her Facebook about our meeting. A nicety that has completely humbled me, as I have not yet published a word of our meeting. So to fairly represent our experience, 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 story. And please know, I am red-faced even sharing her words (especially the sweet-looking man stuff). But here I go anyway.

From Lisa’s Facebook:
“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 perspectives per the ongoing story I am publishing; and, to have received such a response so openly published by her, only lengthened my commitment for reaching out to strangers, as well as the love for the world around me I am growing. So again, in letting you read Lisa’s impression of me, my aim is not to pat myself on the back, but to allow us a view to considering the opposite perspectives of what others see in us. In that, perhaps motivation that all of us can grasp in realizing the impact we each have on one another; even in the most basic exchanges. As Lisa says, “Everything happens for a reason and nobody is a stranger!

“I grew up in a mixed religion home.” Lisa shares, “My Dad was Christian and my Mom Jewish. It was hard, and through this, I discovered my true spirituality. Not any particular religion. Just the realization that God is God.” 

There we were, two strangers to each other surrounded by produce and on-lookers as, for twenty-minutes, we chatted like old friends. The depths of what we talked of emotional and personal, and for the sake of giving you a break from my rantings, and to further open to you the counsel of Lisa, I’ll simply pull a few more 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.”

She quotes, “Tell me what you know and you will entertain me, but tell me how you feel and you will intrigue me.” Her hope for what’s to come, “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 captured me with your kind words. I must say, I am forever touched, and the gift you have given me is endless. The knowledge and permission to call you Friend. And per your wise and open encouragement, may I quote you once more. I think you are right on point in your suggestion of how we should look at the world around us. For as you say, “Nobody is a stranger!”

Every moment of every day… your individual impact truly does matter to someone else in the world.

Every moment of every day… your individual impact truly does matter to someone
else in the world.

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©2021 RICHARD RADSTONE / SIDEWALK GHOSTS
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