the smallest of things can turn a day. a person following too closely, an indifferent welcome, a honk, a funny look, a smile.
today my day was turned by $1.50. i had an early morning meeting downtown and hadn’t taken time to eat breakfast or pack a lunch. the day ahead was filled to the brim with scheduled events and the meeting ran late. my only chance at food was going to need to be quick. racing to my car i noticed a single taco truck on a corner and rejoiced to see vegetarian tacos among its offerings. practicing my (very bad) spanish skills i ordered one. two minutes and $1.50 later i unwrapped the warm bundle of beans, lettuce, and pico de gallo held together by a homemade tortilla and slathered it in hot sauce. as i savored it all the way to my car i felt myself melting into a state of unaccounted for gratitude. i felt exceedingly grateful to the man who had treated me kindly and had made my taco. i wanted to run back and tell him how delicious it was and how the warm softness of the tortilla played against the crisp coldness of the lettuce. how the hot sauce made my nose run. i wanted to thank him for putting up with my (terrible) spanish. i felt grateful to a city that supports food carts, to a God who values diversity and built into us tastes that are different from our neighbors’, and to the person whose place i took at the meeting this morning. if she hadn’t needed a replacement i would have missed this opportunity for a $1.50 to wake me up.
i could have done so many things differently. i could have raced to the car, head down, or phone to ear, not looking up and around to notice the option in front of me. i could have hurried off to something more “known.” $1.50 could have gotten me much more than a solo taco at a taco bell drive through and yet spending that there would have done nothing to turn my thoughts to gratitude and my mood to lighthearted. the flavors wouldn’t have woken me up to themselves and my surroundings in nearly the same way. i would have consumed food rather than experienced a moment. i could have sloughed off the feeling of joy since it seemed so ridiculously out of proportion to the actual experience and yet it felt so wonderful to let it live. to let the wonder of that little wrapped taco turn my day around.
there are so many ways to turn a day. my day. your day. the grocery clerk’s day. the customer service rep you interact with on the phone’s day. the person cleaning the bathroom at ikea’s day. the mail carrier’s day. so many ways.
mr. rogers wrote a beautiful and simple song that goes like this:
there are many ways to say i love you.
there are many ways to say i care about you.
many ways. many ways. many ways to say i love you.
he goes on to add:
there are cooking ways to say i love you...
there are drawing ways to say i love you...
there are playing ways to say i love you...
today i literally felt like a moment loved me and i loved it back. i loved being right where i was and it made me want to love everyone and everything that was there with me. the cart owner, who i’d never met had he not been right there, willing to make me something warm and wonderful. the sunshine that peeked out from behind a cloud. the air that filled my lungs. the hot sauce. all of it. the moment.
and that’s what a day is. moments. strung together. one after another. and it takes only small ones to turn things. cooking moments, drawing moments, playing moments, so many kind of moments and so many moments to let oneself be loved in.
so, turn things.
in the moment.
to hear mr. rogers’ amazing song go to: http://pbskids.org/rogers/songLyricsManyWays.html (i promise you...it’s worth it...it’ll stick in your mind for the day and remind you to engage in as many ways of loving as you can!)