Beautiful Woman


A few weeks ago, I took a gig waiting tables during lunch in a café.

A woman came in today and sat by the window. How old was she? I’m not sure, 60’s, 70’s? She was one of the last tables of the day so I had more time to chat with her than I would have if she’d sat down a half hour before hand.

She ordered sweet tea and I reminded myself to keep up with the real service of my life. Yes, I’ll serve you tea and sandwiches and slices of cheesecake, that’s my job. The service of my life, however, is to look you in the eyes and see you as whole, as healed, as perfect. That’s my service, different than my job, but I can do them at the same time.

I do my service everyday, dutifully, I do. And, still, I have to continuously remind myself to keep up with it. To do it when I am tired and when I would rather keep to myself and not make so much eye contact.

I Remind myself to do it even when you are pissing me the fuck off or showing me your insecurity by way of attempting to disrespect me. I have to remind myself to keep up with the work of my life, the service I signed on for at some juncture in the cosmos I long ago forgot.

I keep things interesting for myself by looking for creative ways to engage with the service. And today, as I carried sweet tea and lemon to a woman sitting near a window, I asked myself: “How would this person most like to be seen today?” and the answer came, certainly, quite easily: “As young and beautiful”.

She had had a stroke and her left arm no longer worked. She talked about how hard it could be to eat sandwiches, if they were messy, with only one hand. “I’d never thought about that,” She said.

I imagined her at sixteen, ash blond (I decided, because she was pure gray), and smiling a bit bashfully.

“So many things,” she said, “You don’t think about until they happen. My daughter would like this place.”

I pictured her at twenty-three pregnant and radiating with the anticipation and possibility that encapsulates soon to be mothers.

She told me she had found a holistic doctor and that is what she had been out doing before she stopped for lunch.

I pictured her at thirty, a beautiful woman with a young child and a husband, a beautiful woman living her life, not thinking of a stroke as something that would happen to her.

I noticed that her eyes matched her cardigan almost perfectly. I was thinking how truly beautiful her blue-green eyes were and I was picturing them as the bright and alert eyes of a thirty-five year old woman bracing herself for her daughter to become a woman herself and laughing in the way that adult women find to laugh at the things a world will do.

I am thinking how beautiful her eyes are, how young they are, when she stops dead in the middle of her sentence and says: “Why, you have just the most beautiful eyes! You really do! How lovely.”

She puts the hand of her good arm over her heart.

Magic is like this. Magic works just this way. There was only one thing to do and that was simply receive her compliment and receive it well because something had happened that mattered. Though I could not possibly understand, something that really mattered had happened.

I saw this woman as she will always be: young and beautiful. And she saw the eyes that could see it.

Magic is this. It matters to do it everyday.

Be in Wisdom. Be in Peace. Be Healed. It Matters. xxo


About michelleembree
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