Wisdom can come from the most unusual people and places. Like the words from a random fortune cookie, they can resonate with us on such a deep, intimate level that we are blown away by their relevance to our most personal life conundrums.
A recent visit to a WAWA one early weekend morning had the same effect on me.
I was standing in line with a newspaper (yes the Sunday NYTimes still works for me on paper) and coffee pondering some personal issues. I was a bit “down” and perhaps feeling a bit sorry for myself (I try to minimize these feelings but we are human afterall). The issues were not all that significant in the scheme of things, but tell that to our ever rambling minds.
Next to me was a large, middle aged man with tattoos, a shaved head and a few earrings. Deep into my own thoughts, I barely noticed him but his gravely voice got my attention. The young woman who returned his change said to him “have a good day”. He turned to me and as he spoke to the few assembled WAWA customers that early morning. “I woke up this morning. It’s a good day”. His face was weathered, his voice perhaps the product of cartons of smokes and six-packs of beer. A wry smile cracked his gruff demeanor. I smiled back.
Like a Buddhist koan which ignites enlightenment with its simplicity, it woke me from my self-indulgent gloom. Not a bad piece of wisdom from an unlikely source, in an unlikely place.
A guess its all about recognizing truths when we need to hear them.
Not that much different from finding inspiration from the Bible…..or a fortune cookie.