After a full day of appointments, meetings and errands I stopped at Walgreens to pick up my prescription and grab a few things. There was some sort of mix up and I had to wait a good 45 minutes for my prescription to be filled.
As I was sitting in the little waiting area, baby boy in the shopping cart, it seemed everyone around me was so irritable and uptight. The girl working the counter was scattered and short tempered and dare I say a bit of a space case. The line was growing as fast as the irritation.
The man sitting next to me began interacting with my son putting a huge smile on his face. He was an older black man, maybe in his 70’s who appeared to have Parkinson’s disease. I could barely understand a word he was saying, but one thing I did notice about him was that he was just so calm and relaxed, carefree. He had been sitting there when I arrived, so clearly he’d been waiting a lot longer than me for his prescription. His smile was contagious and his laughter so genuine and uplifting. He wore loose fitting, somewhat worn out clothing and an old hat. There was just this sweetness about him. I got the impression that he genuinely enjoyed sitting there waiting for his medicine, observing and taking it all in.
Another elderly man appeared in line in front of where we were seated. He too began engaging with my son and sharing stories about his very own grand and great grandchildren. The three of us, these two elderly men and I shared stories, laughed and exchanged a few words of wisdom.
Everyone around us seemed so preoccupied to even notice the rich exchange of dialogue taking place right in front of them. I suppose as we age we begin to place more value in the simpler things; connection, conversation, laughter. We become more patient, recognizing that it does us no good to stress over things we have no control over, so we simply let it go and enjoy the moment as best we can. How did we all become so disconnected from each other?
As I mature, I am learning that everything I’ve poured my energy into; achievements, success, money etc really carries no lasting value. It’s how we give and receive one to another , the simple gifts we carry within that have the deepest value. Even if that gift is a simple smile and contagious laughter from an elderly black man with Parkinson’s disease.