I had two really neat encounters with complete strangers this week and it made me think about my experience with strangers as I was growing up. Of my brother and I, I remember being the shy and introverted girl while my brother was always the one striking up conversations with strangers, as in literally like by age 8 if not a little bit younger. He’s always been more open and extroverted, at least that’s how I’ve always seen him, which I thought was pretty cool. And as the years went by whenever we would go somewhere together we were always bound to run into a handful of people who he knew. I was sometimes in awe of this because this very rarely if ever happened to me. I guess I was always just a little bit more awkward when it came to striking up conversations with people I didn’t know and mostly I was just quiet and shy. Which surprises people that know me because they always say how friendly and a chatter box I am.
Well a few days ago I was at Costco and after a while of walking around I needed a break because this little bundle I’m carrying around sometimes likes to poke her foot or something at my rib and it can get quite uncomfortable. My grandma and I found this bench to sit at by the pharmacy and this lady was sitting there with her cart while her daughter and the lady’s friend were looking for some last stuff they needed to get. The lady asked me about my pregnancy and then we just suddenly started up this wonderful conversation. I learned about her marriage and eventual separation and now being a single mom, she introduced me to her 15 yr old daughter who she mentioned is a twin and then I started talking with her daughter. We talked about staying in school, having goals, enjoying each moment etc… At the end of our conversation I felt like I was talking to an old friend and the lady told me how much it had helped her to talk. I had felt great talking with her too. How neat the places that God places you at each moment.
Then today I was at Target and this lady and I were the only ones in one particular cosmetic aisle, it was funny because we were trying to figure out a way to fit since the carts are so bubbly looking and you can barely squeeze two of them side by side. I joked with her about this as I squeezed by and then paused to look at what I was searching for and then just as she was passing me by she asked me if she could ask me a question and I said sure. She wanted to know how it felt and then motioned to my baby belly. I got such a smile on my face and asked her if she was too and she said yes, she was 5 weeks pregnant. We proceeded to have a conversation about how the different movements/sensations felt and she asked me about some of the experiences I’d had and I asked her how she’d been feeling so far.
Both experiences felt so nice and before I started to write about this I wondered if it’s my baby belly that makes me more approachable or maybe I’m just giving off this new vibe. I think it’s God working his magic and purpose. It also made me think about how true it is that you never know how or when you might affect someone by simply smiling or greeting them or just being open. These two ladies definitely affected me, they reminded me that it’s not about “strangers”, rather it’s the experience of having a friendly encounter with someone you don’t know.