Some of my most rewarding experiences getting to know people have come when I was waiting to do something. Several years ago I was to take a train from Baltimore to Philadelphia which was a very familiar experience for me from my young adult years. However, because so many years had passed since I had ridden that train, I was very nervous and arrived at the station way ahead of time. I sat down to pass the time on a bench next to an African-American woman. She engaged me in conversation and talked about where she was traveling to and then told me about her plans to have a party to celebrate her life with longtime friends. We talked quite a while about this theme (we both seem to have arrived way too early!), and I remember telling her she should have parties every year to celebrate her life and friends. After a while it was time for me to board my train. As I stood up to leave and wish her well, she stood also and gave me a big hug. The warmth of her hug has stayed with me all these years.
More recently I was in line (we do spend a lot of our time in life waiting for things, don’t we?) at the Honey Baked Ham store, along with what seemed like all the rest of Ann Arbor. Soon many of us were chatting with our neighbors in line. I was fretting about my various commitments, and as we got close to the counter, the woman ahead of me very graciously offered to have me go ahead of her. By that time I felt comfortable that I was going to meet the next time commitment safely so I declined but appreciated her kind offer very much. Sometimes those spontaneous connections are the most heartwarming!