At a convenience store Subway the other day, an elderly woman sat down at a tall bar stool table inside. She wasn’t eating, but had a small Styrofoam cup of coffee in front of her that she wasn’t drinking. Her silver blue hair was perfect in every way and she was wearing her Sunday best dress, complete with a little pearl necklace and old fashioned block, black dress shoes. Her glasses seemed part of her face, like they had been sitting there for years.
She was a tall, slender lady, just staring out the window with a faint smile on her face. She didn’t appear distressed, worried, not even lonely, but somehow you got the feeling she was alone most of the time. She wasn’t doing a thing to draw attention to herself, but in a store where workers were grabbing lunches and log trucks were fueling up, she stuck out like a pink carnation in the midst of poison ivy.
I debated about speaking to her, but somehow it seemed it would disturb her reason for being there, whatever it was. She looked like she was living, or maybe re-living, life and memories in black and white. The revelation of her face spoke resolve, but the song of her spirit sang yesterday. She seemed to be dancing in the joys of experiences past, while writing mental memoirs for the future. All the while she stared out the window at a big red Texaco sign, but her eyes didn’t see it. It was just a movie screen for her heart.
I wondered if someone was sitting beside her, invisible to the eye, but sitting there nonetheless. Maybe a chorus of beings were sitting and surrounding her, swinging to the rhythm of her soul, tickling her heart’s funny bone, maybe whispering in her ear.
When there’s more miles behind you than in front, the rear view mirror can look good, but you can’t drive in the rear view mirror. Then again, when you know more people in heaven than you know on earth, perspectives change.
Life can be kind. Life can be cruel. Life can be both at the same time. Maybe it’s just a matter of perspective. I don’t know. I wonder if one day we too may find ourselves out of place in a convenience store in the middle of our own déjà vu recalling life’s good and bad, the thoughts and memories, crushed hopes and rekindled dreams.
My hope, my prayer for you is that if you find yourself staring out a window deep in thought, you too will have a faint, but distinct, déjà vu smile on your face while you dance in peace to the rhythm of your memories.