Part of my drive to write is to help others uncover the lies that bind and choke them from living to the fullest. One of these lies is Don’t Talk to Strangers.
One of my sweet violin students aptly said one day during lessons that _________ (a very powerful company in the entertainment industry) tells girls not to talk to strangers unless they are handsome princes. She was summarizing a powerful meme she saw.
We proceeded to discuss how girls are primed in modern culture to be attracted to narcissistic men through their good looks and deceitful charm portrayed in many a movie and TV show. Since I was raised on these foolish romantic fantasies, it has taken me some time to understand why many a good guy called these movies “Chick flicks” and vehemently scoffs at them.
Likewise children are taught to not talk to strangers. The year 2020 certain reinforced this with their mask mandates and social distancing. Rather, I am going to discuss why people should talk to some (not all) strangers based on my encounters in the last 10 days. I have many more, but for this particular blog I am going to highlight two encounters that have similar inspiration.
First, we stopped at a rest stop on I-95 after 11 hours of driving. My immediate response to seeing an old man standing at the entrance of the women’s room was one of concern. However, he immediately spoke and explained that he was standing there so that he could help his wife in wheelchair when she needed it. So, I offered to help as well. At first I thought I would assist her, but then I realized I needed to help him safely help her instead by standing watch outside of the women’s room to any new comer.
When all were finished they thanked us and we enjoyed becoming acquainted. Hudson is 90 years old. Esther is 91. She recently succumbed to using a wheel chair, but they were still out on a trip on May 16, 2021! We were so inspired that they were out and about. And delighted to find out they maybe our new prospective neighbors in South Florida. They literally live and have lived for 30+ years three blocks away from the house we were hoping to win a contract on. Esther and Hudson confirmed that the location was great and would fulfill all the conveniences I was hoping for. Unfortunately, we lost the contract, but we gained some amazing friends of whom we are in contact with.
The second encounter happened this past week at Walmart. A woman apologized for being in my way as I browsed the cereal selection. I assured her no apology was needed, but used this a gateway to further conversation. Wow here is another woman defying the odds of age. Kathi is 71 years old, looking great, happily smiled for this photo and approved that I use it and is still working a real job!
She did retire, but decided to go back to work and secured this professional IT job at 67 years of age! Wahoo! Go Kathi!!! She had no worries of age discrimination nor sex discrimination. And what kind of job is she doing? Would it be the kind we are told is dominated by young white males??? Ahem, her current boss also doesn’t want her to retire! She, her supervisor, values that she knows her stuff and provides value that won’t be easy to replace.
How many of us are told that we are getting old and can’t, can’t, can’t, should, should, should or shouldn’t shouldn’t shouldn’t? Then we’re also told to run to the health care professionals for every little ailment and cry like a baby? This is entitlement thinking that I am so glad to finally recognize in myself so that I can repent of it and choose so much better like Harry, Elaine, and Kathi. How about you?
*While I am advocating talking to strangers, I am not encouraging FOOLISH discourse with them. Some strangers are worthy to engage with and others are not. I hope to write in another blog or book what this discernment looks like and how to teach it to our children. I too have been approached while traveling by creeps that clearly had wicked motives behind their attempts to converse. I immediately sought support by others in the nearest business of the parking lot where one man in particular approached me. Please use good judgement.