Friday, July 5, 2013

Close encounters of the Grady kind.

I was walking down the sidewalk across the street from Grady the other morning. Although there were cars whizzing by on the street, for whatever reason there weren't many pedestrians. Other than a lone nurse who'd just slipped inside of the revolving doors ahead of me, it was just me out there.

And I was okay with that.

When I reached the cross walk, I felt a gust of wind rushing across my body. Yes, this was summer in Georgia, but somehow Mother Nature hadn't gotten that memo on this day. Instead of the thick blanket of predictable humidity that normally covered such mornings, this day was different. It was unseasonably cool and accompanied by a gentle breeze. The kind that makes you close your eyes for a bit and sigh.


Eyes now opened, I crossed the street. I could still feel that wind rolling over me and that, combined with the sun on my face, made me smile. Like the kind of smile that you have when you realize how happy you are to be exactly where you are at the exact moment you are there.

I almost started skipping. Almost. I felt just that good. So my grin got wider and fuller as I strolled along and approached the doors. And I know this is true about my expression because I saw my reflection in the glass just before I pushed on the entrance. Which made me smile even more.

Then, just before I headed inside, I heard a deep voice.

"Hello there, young lady."

Standing to the side of the door entrance was an elderly gentleman holding what looked like a hand-carved wooden cane. It was as if he'd appeared out of thin air. I felt almost certain that no one had been out there with me, especially so close to the door. But so I wouldn't freak out, I told myself that maybe I was so lost in my own world that perhaps I'd missed him from the corner of my eye.


"Hello there, sir," I replied. "You doing okay today, sir?"  My voice was musical. Like it always is when I speak to the Grady elders. That made me smile even more.

Hello there, sir. You doing okay today, sir?

But that question I asked him was rhetorical. I know it was because I could already tell. This man was one of those people who made up his mind to always have a good day. Every day no matter what. You could see it from the twinkle in his eyes and hear it in the fluid and smoky tone of his voice. Even still, my question made that smile that was already plastered onto his face grow larger. And all of it was perfectly accented by this fluffy white beard that deeply contrasted his espresso-colored skin.

He was beautiful. He was.

When I stopped to speak to him, he stayed in the same place he was. His leathery hands were resting firmly on top of that cane and his back was leaned against the side of the building. And him staying where he was was okay with me, too. It was.

"You know what, sir? I can already tell that you are doing okay today. I can. Maybe even more than okay."

He grinned again and nodded his head downward. Almost like a bow in my direction which sort of moved me.

"You know, young lady? The same could be said about you. Like your light is shining, young lady. And I could see it, too. I could see your light shining!"

And when he said that he pressed his lips together for emphasis and nodded once more. And something about how he said those words while gazing in my direction made me want to immediately cry. I mean that.

"Really?" I finally eked out. That was all I could think to say.

"Really," he replied.

"Thank you, sir. I mean, for saying that, okay?"

"And thank YOU, young lady, for letting your light shine."

And when he said that I sort of just stared at him with my hand glued to the door but not moving. I looked into his eyes for a beat and wondered to myself what this meant. Like pondered the idea of God appearing in everyday people all the time. And if that was true then, perhaps, this would have to be one of those times.

I wondered that, I did. Because something about that man and how he looked at me felt divinely appointed. I don't know how to explain it but it did.


So that was it. That was that. I waved good bye to him and made my way to the clinic.

And you know what? This time I did skip.

This time? I did.

Happy Friday.


  1. Divine if you decide it so. That's what I think.
    I have started doing this thing recently and I'm going to get arrested, probably, or labeled as crazy (what else is new?) where when I tell beautiful people that they are indeed, beautiful. Mostly this turns out to be the woman who rings me up somewhere. It's becoming a compulsion. is too damn short not to acknowledge beauty. And of course, my definition of beauty is often about someone being light-filled.

  2. Hmmmm... label this one "One that JoLai would LOVE!" :-)


  3. Girl doctor..(Ha..I call the light of my niece..girl lawyer)...your light does SHINE!! You are full of light and life...and you are just now coming into your own. The best is yet to come!

  4. Keep skipping , girl.

    M, fellow Meharrian

  5. I think you're right. And glad you skipped.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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