Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When I'm not looking

People are funny. As I run by, music blasting in my ears, I see each of you as a character in a movie. I don't know you from Adam. I know about you only what I see when I'm there looking. I am a stranger to you, so you don't mind. Your p.j.'s are fine, hair all a mess. No worries about your dated glasses, worn slippers, or morning rant at the dog. I love getting a little glimpse of what surrounds me. A little window into the world that exists outside my own. I start to realize, as I run past, that I am also a character to them. That girl that runs this street everyday. Hair all a mess, worn running shoes, the morning rant at her ipod....

As I reach the country roads, there's a lot less to see. The view is great, don't get me wrong, but there isn't the challenge of knowing who someone is when I'm not looking.

I loved running past the young man who entered his car, suitcase in hand, only after a long hug with his sleepy wife.  And the smiling old woman's as she picked up todays news stories from her drive...

Then there's the man too busy to wave goodbye, too rushed to see his wife and kids patiently waiting at the door, hoping for even the simplest acknowledgement. I keep running as the expensive cars drive by, with an isolated driver who must be the busiest person in the world. Always fixing their reflection, too involved to see the stop sign. As I approach the bigger homes, the less people I see. The houses always seem empty, no lights, no toys, no mess. I'm not sure anyone actually lives there. I'm not sure if anyone would call them home...

I think about all these people I pass through the streets. I think of how they are to each other: their families, their neighbors, to themselves. What makes some love themselves enough to brave the morning light with dated glasses, worn slippers, and hair all a mess? And others love each other so deeply as to hold that hug a little longer, to let that tear fall, even for the shortest goodbyes.  And if that life is an option, why do some seem so miserable?

It is no family unless the respect is enough to show that love to strangers. And when the one's you know aren't looking, does the ring stay on the finger? Is it too loose and slips into a pocket? Or is it around a tacky gold necklace where those who are looking can't see it from where they've sunk to? I watch too many slip away from their homes and onto the street as different people. I have a birds eye view in running. I am nearly invisible to you, but over time I get to know who you are by your reflection when no one's looking... In these moments, I can also see my own, and find peace in the glimpses I leave.

We are what we do. Our reflections show who we are to others, show us what they see when we aren't looking. I don't just say the words and hide. I don't have different faces for everyday. My ring stays on, as do the beads on my wrist, as does my smile. I pin my heart on my sleeve for everyone to see. My sweaty footprints are consistent, even if not always at the same stride.  I know one day I may not be on this street looking. I may not be here to be seen. I just hope the glimpses I leave can be inspiring... beautiful, messy moments of living.

And, sir, put that ring back on... the reflection from your neck is blinding from up here.

In view,

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