I didn’t know anyone was listening to us.
We had just left a Thai restaurant after enjoying a movie and dinner with friends. We were the last ones in the restaurant and felt obligated to leave and allow the staff to close up shop for the night. We were still chatting and continued our conversation in the parking lot outside the restaurant. We were discussing the current state of our country, our government, and the coming election. The conversation was heated but civil, as the opinions differed greatly.
Without notice, a man approached us and told us his 22-year-old brother had been killed in Afghanistan; he had overheard our conversation. He introduced himself, we conversed briefly, he shook our hands, and went on his way.
Wow, a clear dose of reality. We were discussing the state of affairs and he was feeling the state of affairs. It was a surreal experience in many ways, mostly because it was so unexpected and of course so very tragic and sad. When the man left us we chatted a bit longer and then got in our cars to go home. I couldn’t help but feel the intensity of the experience. It was humbling and real. We thanked the man for his brother’s service; we expressed our condolences, and went on our way.
I am so grateful that this man approached us and spoke to us. I know the impact of this brief meeting will have long lasting effects on me. It is so easy for so many of us to banter on about politics, the war, our government, etc. without having a face to equate with the situation. This man put a face on the horror that so many people face. He made it real. He humanized the impact the war has had on so many people. I thank him for his boldness and his grace.
Lessons come in so many ways. This one will forever move me.