There’s a poem that tells, “People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”
A fellow customer — a gentleman I don’t know and will likely never cross paths with again — whom I saw in a small store the other day definitely falls into the “reason” category. When a store employee greeted the gentleman with the typical, “Hi, how are you,” the seemingly troubled customer quickly replied, “We can just skip over that,” and proceeded to describe what he was shopping for.
While some may have seen the man’s response as rude, it delighted me.
I’m often troubled by the “How are you” question because it usually expects a quick, positive reply. Especially for people experiencing a loss, this expectation makes it near-impossible to answer honestly, putting us in a situation where we can either be disingenuous or honest at the expense of the polite tone.
So, when this random man replied in an honest, quick way without getting into any of his troublesome “stuff,” I couldn’t help identifying. I had never heard that reply and it’s one I think is beneficial for grievers (or anyone for that matter) to have at their disposal.
Witnessing that interaction provides a clear reason why that man appeared on my path. Because of its impact, I believe the reason might stay with me for a lifetime.