I find myself in the grocery store parking lot loading groceries into my trunk. It had been “one of those days” and going to the store was NOT what I wanted to be doing at the time. Two weeks of constant back pain and two unanswered calls to the doctor had not helped my mood. I hate voice mail. Driving to the store that day, I was passed by a young man who had made rude gestures with his middle finger at me, when I apparently did not drive fast enough for him. Even though I was driving the posted speed limit, in a school zone. He came from behind, zoomed up beside me, made his more than unkind gesture, and then sped off shaking his head at me.
I finish my shopping, load my groceries into my trunk, and think how I can’t wait to get home to my ice pack and my heating pad. And my Advil. I turn my cart around to place it in the cart return, when I hear you. You– a woman crying. A woman sitting in a car in a grocery store parking lot to the left of my parked car, with her window down–crying. I push my cart in the cart return and slowly and curiously start walking towards my car. I pass between your car and mine and look into your face. Yes, you are definitely crying. I know the signs well. Your cheeks are red, your lips are pierced and being forced into a frown, your brows are furrowed, your face is all twisted from your pain, and wetness is flowing down your face. You look to be about my age, maybe older. I find myself walking towards your car wanting to ask you if you are o.k. And as I approach your car to do just that, and open my mouth to speak to you, I see it. A cell phone. You’re talking on a cell phone. I hear you say, “Oh honey,” and then your cries turn to sobs. So I pass by you slowly and quietly and try to give you a timid smile– a smile that says, I care and I’m sorry you are hurting. You don’t look at me. Then I climb into my car. I wonder who you are, who has hurt you, and mostly I worry if you will be o.k. I long to get into your car and sit beside you and talk to you. To try to comfort you. I long to tell you that it will be o.k. That I understand that it is a cruel, harsh and abrasive world we live in. A world where death and sickness seem to be everywhere. A world where life seems to be too full of hurt, losses, and destroyed dreams. A world where too many marriages collapse, and too many sad and lonely people live. A world where people are too often mean and insensitive, and inhuman. A cruel world where children bully other children, and adults bully other adults. Where people are too hurried and impatient and insensitive. And all too often people hurt other people. Where daily we turn on our televisions and find that there’s more bad news than good news, and we wonder why we need to bother waking up in the morning. And we often ask, where are you God? No, we scream, WHERE ARE YOU GOD? Are you really there? Do you see all the hurt down here God? Why don’t you do something about it God?
I sit in my car and I wonder why you are crying. I start my engine, put my car in reverse and I back out. I drive away. But I don’t forget you. I think about you all day… and wonder who you are… and why you cry. Damn cell phone. And I cry too.