I’m waiting in line for my food on a day that could be generously described as “shitty,” and the man standing next to me starts talking. He usually does when I see him and I normally enjoy his friendliness, but today I just am not in the mood. This entire week has been filled with stress at work and my own negative thoughts have been running me straight into the ground. It’s Friday and I do not even want to eat, I just know I need to. So as I wait in line, he starts talking to me.
As reluctant as I am to start talking to him, I’m also not the kind of person that will be rude for no reason. So I muster up as much friendliness as I can and find it actually helps. He asks me about my weekend and I get a little bit negative, knowing I have no plans until Sunday and I just feel so alone. I almost get so caught up in my own head that I forget to ask him what his plans are, but luckily I remember just before I start looking impolite.
I expect him to tell me that he is going to drink or hang out with his friends or something of the sort – the normal weekend plans. He’s an extremely nice man, so I do enjoy talking to him – it’s just that, today, I am miserable. To hear that he has better plans than I do would just dig into me deeper. His answer left me in awe.
“Do you have plans?”
“Oh, yeah!” he says excitedly.
“That’s good! What are your plans?”
“I’m getting baptized.”
At first I didn’t believe him, just because it was such an obscure answer and I was not expecting it. After some suspicious questions on my part, I realized he wasn’t joking. He mentioned that he was very excited, but a tad bit embarrassed, as everyone in his family was baptized as babies and he was the only one that wasn’t. He explained that he had to pick his own godfather.
“So, this is really important to you if you decided to do it anyway, huh?” I asked, pretty amazed.
“Oh, yeah! This is very important to me,” he said.
“Well, good for you, enjoy your weekend,” I said, walking away. I meant it and I felt happier. I was glad I talked to him even though at first I didn’t want to.
As I walked away, I was left thinking about my own choices and my own matters. I found myself talking with a man that was willing to go through something a little embarrassing (his words, not mine) and a little bit out of the ordinary because it was so important to him. Not only that, he was excited about it. What made me that excited? Also, what steps did he have to make to achieve this thing that was so important to him?
Certainly he needed to reach out to people and let them know what he wanted to do, which is something I’d struggle with myself. Then he probably had to tell his family and friends, and ask someone to honor him as his godfather. Finally, as he had mentioned that he is having a party to celebrate, he needed to plan that as well.
I left wondering what beliefs I have that are so important to me. I’m not sure I have any. Even if I do, I do not think I am the type of person that could stand up and say, “Hey! This is what I want!” and do it. Many times I won’t even admit to my friends that I’m religious if I know they are atheists- shame on me for that.
Confusion also entered my mind because, as I walked away, I realized that this person made my day a bit brighter and I didn’t even want to talk to him to begin with. I complain about my loneliness, but at the same time, I find myself avoiding conversation with people anyway. Even if I do talk to people, I’m not sure I’m so vulnerable to speak about something that I’m both excited for and I find important. It inspired me that this person was able to stand so strong and tell me, a person whose name he doesn’t even know.
There might be a reason floating out there for my unwillingness to talk with others – whether it be our technology-saturated society or just that I’m a cranky girl – but it does not matter. What matters is that there are people in the world that are still able to speak out, be heard, and do what they need to do regardless of other people’s opinions. This man showed me that and as a result, I think I just found a value that is important to me.