It’s true that the more we can connect and empathize with another person, the closer we can understand them. Rough times are part of what helps us to bond with others that have felt the same way. We can either use the pain that we feel in this life to help us heal and love one another, or we can use the pain as a shielding weapon to block the world away from us.
It was an earlier shift at the restaurant I worked at. A family with kids already grown walked in, and I took their table. This particular family was unhappy, there was no doubt about it. The mother and father seemed to be on the verge of divorce, and their daughters and son were all too exhausted by it. They collectively decided to take their anger out on their waitress. Demanding, complaining, sending plates back, and using that passive aggressive tone people talk in when they’re pissed off, was thrown my way every time I walked over to that table. I was equally terrified as I was annoyed. These people completely ruined my day, and I definitely thought about it way too much afterwards. This miserable family made me miserable. How miserable, right?
This happened a while ago, but I was reminded of it from the man that came in last night.
It was late, the restaurant was empty. A man in a black suit walked in by himself, looking dismal. I served him a couple drinks, and he chatted with me a bit, about school, the city, the restaurant and the area, normal topics. He was one of the nicest customers I had, many people just want their food and drinks, and not the conversation, so it was refreshing to hear. He later mentioned that he had arrived from his brother’s funeral, and spiraled into a wholesome, but brief conversation about grief, life, and death. The check was on the table, and by the time I came back, he was gone. He left me a 70% tip, with a little ‘thank you, emily’ on the receipt.
It’s clear to me that life will throw terrible, nightmare situations at you without warning. You can either wrap the misery around yourself and hide in it, or be sincere and approach it head on, reaching your hand out for help. If there’s one thing I want to do in this world, it’s to be good to others, and to give. As best as I can, with mistakes and bumps, it’s still possible. I want to give that consoling, heartening feeling to others that the man who came from the funeral gave to me. We only have each other in this life. Be good to one another.