We all need a partner. It doesn’t have to be intimate. Maybe it’s for business. Maybe it’s platonic. Maybe it’s intellectual. Maybe it’s cordial. But there is no one on this earth that can justify an argument for the other side. Because life is a walk with others. And our plus one is always important. So, my heart gets sad when I see someone without theirs.
Yesterday, after church my little family went out for Sunday brunch at one of our favorite local spots. About halfway through our meal, a single gentleman was seated at a small two-person table beside us. He walked with a hunch and a sturdy cane. He was dressed in a brightly colored plaid jacket that I am certain he’s had for a good thirty years. It was gigantic on him. Although, I imagine it fit him back in the day. His tie was long and his pants quite baggy. But he looked so elegant in the kind of way that means the most. His eyes were tired. His skin sagged. His cheekbones aged. And his face wore an expression that told me he’s got quite the story. I so badly wanted to scoot myself over, sit down, reach out and ask him to share it with me. Because when I see a person like that, I know they’re missing their partner. They’re walking life now, without their plus one.
My husband and I both share this sentiment [when we’re out together]. It tugs at our hearts. And if we did not have the children with us, I am certain we would have invited him to join us. Perhaps he wanted to eat alone. But it’s likely he did not. We finished our meal, paid the bill and got up to leave. I’m usually the last one to leave the table, making sure we have all our belongings. Or else picking up some of the horrendous mess my toddler has graciously left behind. Yesterday, as I took one last scan and walked away I stopped briefly by the gentleman’s table. I extended a holiday greeting, waved hello and smiled. He looked up and smiled larger than I would have expected that face to reveal. And my heart lit up inside. Albeit brief, I hope I gave that amazing man an impression that told him he still matters. Maybe I’m the only person that day that reached out to say hello. Maybe after brunch he was headed back home where he sat quietly by himself. Maybe not. But if so, I feel better knowing I didn’t just walk on by.
We all need people. And when we lose our people, we need more people. The holiday season always brings out an eager heart. But even without that added cheer, I think it’s important to be someone’s person today. Tomorrow. And every day. Because a smile goes a mile.