The man sang so quietly that I could barely hear his voice. But he was good on the guitar. When he finished, I applauded him and told him, truthfully, that I was impressed with his playing and that I had never learned to play an instrument. We had a brief exchange, and I went on my way.
I am reasonably sure that our exchange made him feel good, if only because I acknowledged his gifts and showed him some respect. It also made me feel good, and not just because I had given him something. It made me feel good because we had a moment of genuine human connection.
Most of the time, I am, or at least I feel, too busy to pause and connect with strangers. Ironically, because I was out of sorts, I didn’t feel like doing the things I normally would have been doing, making me more open to connection in that moment. After meeting this man (whose name, I am sorry to say, I forgot to ask), I felt better. It is a lesson, one that I need repeated over and over again, that taking a little time to be with the people we encounter is good for us and well worth the investment of time.