A couple of weeks ago I was getting a haircut. I loved the way his work made me feel. I wanted a trim and a dye job. I have a bit of hair at the nape of my neck bleached, then dyed purple. I wanted it near work in Santa Monica to help me take my time getting home so I could avoid traffic. I found a hairdresser who uses gentle products and was very social. I loved my time in his chair. While he worked and the shop began to close, his cleaning man came in to scrub floors and make the place smell chemically clean and sanitized. We chatted about his birthday weekend plans apart from his twin sister. We chatted about the twins I carried long enough to love. Just as my hair was washed out, a woman came into the shop.
The hairdresser was supporting her with a hug and the benefits of friendship. She wore a cute black dress that was perfect for work and made me jealous of it until I remembered I rarely sit like a lady in a dress. She seemed to be holding back with so much pain and emotion. I asked if she had just endured a long day and my moment of compassion opened her up just enough to be authentic in the pain she felt.
This woman was going through a divorce with a man still intent on making her suffer even though they were no longer together, and she was faced with starting over. New city, new job, new lower credit score (divorce will do that) and no idea how she was going to get through it. I've been there and I'm certain several of my readers have as well.
I gave her encouragement like I got so many times from people who had been divorced. I told her she was stronger than she knew. I was told the same thing repeatedly and it was only in the months after I found a new normal that I could see it was true. I told her there were good times and bad times. Remember the bad, but cling to the good. I told her that I acknowledged her for not giving up and getting this job for herself. She insisted the job was for others and their expectations of her, but I pointed out she was doing it for herself. I knew because she wasn't in bed, hiding and quitting life.
The cleaning man stopped to encourage her as well. He was a man that got to start over after nearly 40 years and and it wasn't his first choice either. He also eventually found freedom in starting life over.
What are the odds that I would be in the right time at the right place with another stranger sharing a similar story of getting through the end of a marriage with a woman who needed to borrow our strength? We were exactly where we needed to be when we needed to be there.
There was another hair appointment that was supposed to be worked in tandem with mine. She had cancelled and had she been there, we might not have had that same cradle of connection and care that we were able to offer her. Had I decided to go straight home or wait for the weekend to go to a salon near my home, I would have missed her. We are right where we need to be, when we need to be there, but sometimes we're meant to be present for someone else. It's not always about me, and I get to see how I might help others. That is a gift. It is a special honor.
I told her to hold onto that moment. It was one of the good ones where she openly cried with two strangers and she was met with love and compassion. One day what we gave her will be needed by someone else. I'm certain she will give and also receive in the act of giving the way I did.
There is a right time and place for everything. There's a whole song and bible verse on it if you don't believe me. The thing is you get to look at the moment you are in and see what the purpose is. Maybe you're there and the reason is you're meant to support someone else.