As an aside, drunk people are frightening to me. They make me very uncomfortable to the point of being afraid of them. I don't find them amusing or comical like many people do. As I motioned to my husband that he could begin to pump, I inadvertently caught the attention of said drunk person. Uh oh! She was making a beeline toward me. I swallowed and tried to figure out how to avoid her, to escape. It was too late.
She started talking and I wanted to keep going so badly, to ignore her to act as if I didn't hear her. Then she spun on her heels and faced me. Reluctantly, I turned to face her.
She said,"I deserve to get messed up [high/drunk]. I earned this. I need to do something for myself. I got my check yesterday and I just did my daughter's hair..."
When she said hair, ya'll know my eyes lit up. My fear just dissipated. I said, "It looked pretty, too, I bet."
She then reached for her own head and suddenly became remorseful and deeply saddened. She said," I know I look bad. My hair is a mess. My teeth are falling out." She placed her hand over her mouth and dropped her eyes and her shoulders, shamefully.
I lifted her chin and looked at her ebony colored face and suddenly the drunk woman disappeared. In her place I saw a Black woman with flawlessly beautiful skin and a tattered, injured and bleeding soul. The liquor that permeated her skin and had assailed my nose just moments before was now long forgotten. What knocked me back an indiscernable physical step was the palpable pain oozing from her very Soul. I could feel it.
She said, "I am so ugly but my baby is not. They are trying to take my baby from me."
I told her, "You are beautiful."
Then she started to sob. She fell toward me and into my arms. Let me remind you that we are in the MIDDLE of the gas station parking lot. That place between the pumps and the storefront where cars drive through to park when they are not getting gas.
I said, "Let's pray and began to say a well known prayer." At first I thought she was mocking me as she was adding words that were not part of the prayer. Then I realized that it was a merely difference in religion, the bulk of or spoken words was exactly the same. We said, "Amen," together.
She thanked me and told that everybody needed something sometime.
I got in the car and dropped my chin to my chest, feeling defeated and overwhelmed. I told my husband, "I wish I could have done something for her. She is in such pain."My husband looked forward and said quietly,"You gave her what you had, a hug and a word of encouragement. That is what she needed. She even told you so."
I had completely missed this. What someone may need may not be what you are used to giving. What they may need from you, what you may be able to give, may not even be something that yourself perceive as valuable. Never undersestimate who you are, or what you have to give or to offer. You never know whose life you will touch. Who you will help to hold on for just one more moment longer, who you will help make it through the night.
Even if you come 'naked to the feast', with nothing to offer but yourself, you can feed and nourish others more than any main dish ever could or ever will. We are all connected and even if you don't have two nickels to rub together, just because you are YOU, you will always have something to give.