Any Given Sunday

My heart was beating quickly.  I was excited, but I was also nervous how this afternoon was going to pan out.  I had been thinking about writing on this topic for a few days.  And then, one night while I was laying in bed thinking about it, the thought came to me, “I should ask other people this question.”  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  I had already asked and answered it for myself, “What’s the worst part about feeling this emotion?  It’s the sense that you are all alone, and if only people knew the truth, they might treat you a little differently.”

So, I drove into D.C., parked my car, grabbed my faulty camera and walked with nervous excitement to a busy street.  I walked past a few stores, snapped a few quick pictures of some buildings, and finally felt the bravery I needed.  As I walked, I looked up a flight of stairs, and there was this gentleman sitting outside his store having a smoke.  He smiled down at me.  I hesitated.  I walked past him at first and then turned back and climbed the stairs.  “Excuse me Sir, may I take your photo?”  “No.”  He laughed.

Seriously, he actually told me no at first.  I smiled and shrugged my shoulders, “Okay,” I replied, but I could feel my heart rate speeding up again, “I’m just working on a new blog and I thought I would ask you a question and take your photo.  I have a business card if you care to see it.”  I pulled out one of my newly minted business cards that I had designed and ordered a few weeks ago.  I thought if I at least offered a business card to people, I wouldn’t feel so creepy asking to take their photo.  He reached for the card and said, “Okay, you can take my photo.”  It worked!  I squared up, and snapped a few quick pictures.  “Thank you,” I said, “The question I’m asking people is – What are you worried about this week?”  He was the start of an enriching walk around a small section of D.C.  On any given Sunday, this is what people shared:

I still have family in Iran. I worry there will never be peace
I’m worried about my court date. They tried to accuse me of something I didn’t do.
We just moved to a new house today. So, trying to adjust. We only moved four doors down, but we’re trying to balance getting settled while still working. I just picked him up from the pet boarders.
My coworker’s husband just passed away. So, I’m worried about her and making notifications to my coworkers.
I’m starting grad school in August, and I want things to go well.
I’m not really worried about anything this week. I’m just waiting on my daughter who had a bad ice cream experience.
Right: I have a lot on my list, I’m worried about not getting it all done…trying to keep people happy and not lose my mind; Left: I’m a planner as well, and I’m worried there’s something I’m forgetting. I don’t like surprises and not being prepared for what’s to come.
I’m not really worried about anything. I’m from Romania, and I’m on a three month vacation. I’m taking a break from reality.
Peace, prosperity, and joy. Feeling like we’re constantly chasing what we feel we need to do next. Wondering if we’re ever going to get “there.”
I’m not worried about anything. I believe in life. And so I’m not worried. Now, can I ask you a few questions? Why did you get that tattoo on your arm?

I learned two things that day.  I’m sure it’s something we all would agree that we know if we stopped and thought about it.  That is, on any given day, we really have no idea with what someone is dealing.  There is no written rule that they are obligated to tell you the details of their life, and I’m sure you would agree you would prefer not to have that rule over your own life and personal business as well.  Nevertheless, we often find ourselves saying, “You would think that so-and-so would have remembered to do thus-and-so.” Or, “What’s wrong with him or her today?  Why are they acting so distant and distracted?”  Or our thoughts could even be more removed.  We don’t know everyone personally that we encounter on any given day.  Yet, we can easily get irritated by someone bumping into us, cutting us off in traffic, or not paying attention to us because he or she was looking down at their phone.  But what if that person wasn’t able to enjoy the sunshine or the view of kids playing near his park bench that day because he was trying to notify others that their coworker’s husband’s transplant didn’t take, that his body had rejected the organ, and that he had passed away that morning?

It’s easy to get so lost in the reality and worries of our personal lives that we often overlook the greater reality that we all carry worries – except for the select few that believe in life and so don’t need to worry.  Lucky guy…

…But maybe the gentleman I met on the park bench was on to something.  What was not captured in the photo was his handicapped wife sitting next to him.  She did not want me to take her photo, but I couldn’t help acknowledging her while I asked him my question.  This man wasn’t worried about anything, but it was not because he lacked challenges.  His wife could not walk without assistance.  She depended on him.  Nevertheless, he believed in life, and so he was not worried.

I tried to not over interpret what those ten people shared with me on Sunday.  But after walking away from that brief conversation with the last gentleman, I thought back over my conversation with the first gentleman I had met.  In this life there may never be peace.  Life will almost surely be filled with betrayal, new beginnings, unexpected goodbyes, pressure to make others happy, fear of missing the mark, and the constant demand to do more, be more, and achieve more.  But maybe what that gentleman meant by believing in life was that he finally understood that although life will always present us with worries, we have the capacity to give those worries power and influence – or to not.  Life seems to continue regardless.

Oh, and the second thing I learned was that 2 hours is my limit for this kind of activity.  As a classic introvert, I can only be bold for so long.  I loved every minute of that walk around D.C., but I got back into my car and was utterly exhausted!  I had emerged out of my shell enough for one day!

3 thoughts on “Any Given Sunday”

  1. This is incredible! I did not know you had a blag and now that I do I’ll be Redding it all the time! It truly is amazing what others feel or see, compared to what we feel or see. We all are living this life, yet some peklle stay calm and others have anxiety. I only hope that as a whole a balance will be found and people can smile more and enjoy life more!


  2. Loved the article see this daily people are so worried about something they forget to live for the moment or even the day. People need Love and Jesus every minute of the day. In small doses.

    Liked by 1 person

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