Hello & Goodbye
Working from home looks a lot like sweatpants and unkempt appearance.. Sleeping in until 9am and warm meals going cold. Conversations with myself and punch dancing in the living room.. Don't get me wrong - I love my own company and insanity, but having a reason to put on a bra and drag a brush through my hair has its benefits.
So while it may not always be glamorous, I found opportunity to work reception at a local hotel. I took this job for a number of reasons, but most prominently as a motivator of socialization. 2 days a week I stroll happily through the lobby to hear about the incoming and outgoing guests. I am then left to hold the fort until 11pm.
My opportunities here start and end with conversations between strangers. Trying to make the crusty ones smile, and hearing endearing stories from those passing through on a larger journey. I find myself at times, studying them prior to their approach and after their leave, in wonder of their life outside the short time in my company.
Quite often I make up scenarios about what their life might be like. And while this may seem unsettling to a point, it helps me build compassion for each person I meet. At the hotel, or anywhere else. I've practiced this for a number of years, but my internal story creation is at its peak now with my daily encounters sometimes tallying 60/day. Moreover to this, my ignorance to strangers lives is sometimes held to my nose when a woman says she is here for cancer treatment. Or a man just seeking a homeless shelter. Refusing my offer of a free room or a hot meal, I'm left powerless and informed of stories I hope to never live.
I realize over and over again how blessed every god damn one of us are to have what we do. Like a home to go back to, or a family to lean on. A cell phone for communication and a voice to speak with. In struggle or joy, mine or theirs, I love everyone I meet. For every small reason. The silent stories the tired eyes could tell, passing me a credit card. Or the shared love of the elderly refusing to let me carry their bags. Or Bill - who frequents the hotel, and called to ask me how my trip to China was.
Sometimes I mourn the people I can't help, and drive the streets that night hoping maybe I can. I sweat in my uniform from running from A to B fetching things I offer without request. I'm exhausted daily with compassion - and I wouldn't trade it for anything less. So I'm here to tell you, that no matter who you are or what you do, believe me that you can make a difference to someone. To anyone. To yourself.