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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sonder

Do you ever get a good look at a stranger and feel oddly connected to their life? I was driving today, and as I was making a left hand turn I caught a solid glimpse of a man in the left turn lane of the road I was joining. It was odd. I didn't recognize this man, and he didn't see me. There was just something about him that caught my attention. Immediately I found myself wondering how old he was, along with a myriad of other things:

Was he married? Did he have grandchildren? Was he a veteran? A business man? Did he make his living saving lives? Teaching piano lessons? Harvesting crops? Did he have a happy childhood? Did he love a lot? Does he feel loved? Where is he going? Why is he going there? Where is he coming from? What brought him to be in this tiny town of Whitewater, WI? Does he believe in God?

Nothing about this man was out of the ordinary. He was a white man, maybe mid 60s of age, driving a white SUV of some sort... I wasn't paying attention. What I did notice were his wrinkles. That's how I know there was a lot of life behind his eyes. And so, I wondered about his life. Because I think that by wondering about other's lives add a level of compassion to our own lives. If we are considerate enough to recognize that we are not the center of this universe... that each person we pass by is the lead character in their own story I think we gift ourselves the opportunity to deepen ourselves.

sonder

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I don't know the man in the white SUV. I may never cross paths with him again. But I can tell you, I'm grateful for his existence on this planet. His presence today gifted me with a sweet reminder that everyone has a story, if only you take the opportunity to uncover it.

To growth, gratitude and grace~

Allison


1 comment:

  1. I have had this happen. Happens a fair bit to me. I feel like it is a part of falling in love with the human species. A sense of kindred spirits and deeper connection and cultivation of openness and respect and kindness. I appreciate your words Allison. You have courage and fire. Great work. I will be marching at the women's march in Montpelier VT and will bring your spirit with me.

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