My husband and I were eating breakfast when I noticed this gentleman sitting alone. He looked sad and troubled. He spoke very little to the waitress and ate his meal quietly and without making a sound. There was activity all around him and it appeared to have no impact on him at all.
I wondered if he was eating alone because he was truly alone. Maybe his family lives far away and he doesn’t get to see them very often. Maybe he was eating alone because he couldn’t take the chaos of his own household. Maybe the kids were unruly, the tv was blaring, the shouting and bickering amongst his family got to him, so he chose to eat alone. Maybe his wife talks too much and he needed time with peace and quiet to simply relax and enjoy a meal alone. Maybe he doesn’t cook and this is his morning ritual. Maybe he was just passing through and this was the meal that would tide him over until he reached his destination.
There are people all around us and we have no idea what is the real story of their lives. Does their appearance provide clues, do their actions tell us everything we are curious to know? I have learned over time that you never can tell what is really going on with people; most people live lives we can’t even imagine. Their problems, challenges, ideas, hopes and dreams are full of intricate situations and circumstances fiction could never portray. I have also learned that if you care to know many people will tell you. They need someone who cares enough to listen because not everyone has someone who listens to them in their own lives.
I have also learned that some people just like eating alone, no story, no circumstances, no drama, they just like eating alone. People are a labyrinth of experiences bundled together into one complete person. Their stories are their own and make them who they are, just like our stories make us who we are.
I said good morning to this man before we left, he smiled and said good morning back, his face lit up, he gave me a nod and then continued to eat his breakfast. Not sure how that impacted his day, but it made me feel better to have acknowledged another breakfast eater and make him smile.I encourage you to say hello to someone you notice often but have never spoken to, not yet. Maybe all they need today is a hello and someone to acknowledge their existence.