“I know that's been proven to be something that substantially adds to life in a positive way. I mean, obviously, you have your extreme negatives, which are also very true and very varied. But I believe that those give a really solid basis for life in general."
There is a chill in the air and the streets are barely populated. But still, here and there people walk. Some with chins down, others with faces up, and on this Saint Patric’s day, several covered green in celebration.
Loud noise pulses out the doors as I pass the Irish pub. A sound I intake several times as I circle the downtown area.
At a corner, a group of women and I wait to cross the street. Then, as a souped-up offroad truck honks as it rips past intersection traffic, I turn to them, ‘well that proved a lot.’
They politely acknowledged me, and then return to their conversation.
The crosswalk sign lights up and feeling a little awkward, I overcompensate by trying to engage in conversation. I even passed them a RadstoneBLOG business card. But as the short block begins to feel like a mile, and as the embarrassment settles in, I find my out—a wide commuter alley to my side. I veer right.
Past the man steam-cleaning the sidewalk, over a few covered construction holes, and toward the next block I stroll. Then left.
Behind me, they match my pace. Three guys of dubious appearance, they heighten my street awareness. Half a block down, I tweak my head to the left as I straddle the curb. With about two yards of space between them and me, I zig-zag a little. Want to see if they’re tracking me as I plan a defense (Just in case). Two drop away, and at the intersection, I face the last one off.
“Do you have a couple of dollars?” He asks.
‘For what?’ I respond. My back to the busy road, I directly face him.
“Cigarettes.” He explains, “the store up the street has a good price.”
Inside my responsive thought, ‘Wrong answer.’ Outside, and in prescribing to the take a breath soapbox I always share, I instead ask for his name. “I’m Mike,” he smiles. “But my friends call me Pixie.” A nickname synonymous with Amphetamines as well as Webster’s definition of mischievous.
The traffic signal changes, and as I cross the street, I wish Mike a good day. “Take it easy” he gives his farewell with a verbal gesture. “I can’t find my friends.”
‘If I run into them, I’ll let them know you’re looking,’ I leave the scene.
I walk on. Again dissolve into the sidewalk traffic. Cool, I can be a little poetic here: One in a world of Sidewalk Ghost.” 🙂
For a couple more blocks I interact with a few more people, and in each, the non-verbal brush-offs are very apparent. But it’s not my first rodeo, I’ve had much worse. Yet still, it looks like this afternoon walkabout is going to be a full strikeout. Then I run into her, or should I say, she drew me in—It’s crazy how this so often happens.
Her name: Saffron—Her occupation: Anthropologist— Her joy: Motherhood, as on her chest, protected, and warmed in a covered baby carrier is her newly born boy. Asleep as we begin a brief conversation.
A recent relocate to Salt Lake City, she and her husband migrated to be close to family and in search of work.
Reflective in her views of the big why Saffron draws us toward a universal consideration:
“My personal why is that we’re just continuing on with life and now is so good; and believing in growing a higher power, right?
I know that’s been proven to be something that substantially adds to life in a positive way. I mean, obviously, you have your extreme negatives, which are also very true and very varied. But I believe that those give a really solid basis for life in general.”
She expresses her faith as a Christian, and adds, “It influences how I interact with people too.”
Those of you who have been with me know that I am a baptized Jew. For you who are just meeting me—a warm hello. And for all of us of the varied faiths that we are, please know that RadstoneBLOG and Sidewalk Ghosts are safe place for all perspectives and beliefs to meet. For, I believe in the diversity of our outlooks can be found a place where the fountains of empathy can flourish—that is, as we open our hearts and minds toward caring about one another. Okay, I’ll jump off the soapbox.
“Something I can say that’s impactful for me is, recognizing we each have strengths and weaknesses, and that might not look like the woman next to you, and that’s perfectly fine. Just remember that life is hard, and it’s okay to ask for help. There is a Hebrew term called Tov Meod, which means very good…”
I ask, ‘in the perspective of an Anthropologist, is there a different way you would answer the why?’
She quietly thinks for a moment, then responds: “When you look at cultures across the world, I see a lack of the ability to accept a higher power that’s extremely unusual. Belief in a higher power is actually a commonality within all people groups. Monotheistically and across the board there is this agreement: There is a spiritual realm, and that is required.
“‘So within this, it can be similar, or it can be drastically different. Some people will say, ‘oh, it’s the exact same.’ But if you compare Islam to Judaism to Christianity, they are extremely ideologically, and theologically different. But they do agree on the premise of we are created, we are here for a reason. And it’s not just to live and die.'”
Wow! I love how Saffron wraps up today’s why.
At first vulnerable in sharing her faith—then in an academic sense allows us all the freedom to live by the dictates of our belief systems.
In all, challenges us to look at our version of good. To ponder forward in the reality of our mortal timelines. All of it points to a notion with the reach to unify many: In her words, “we are each here for a purpose.”
And per that purpose, I transition to the question of the month, ‘Saffron, What would you like to share with other women out there?’
“Something I can say that’s impactful for me is, recognizing we each have strengths and weaknesses, and that might not look like the woman next to you, and that’s perfectly fine. Just remember that life is hard, and it’s okay to ask for help. There is a Hebrew term called Tov Meod, which means very good.
And I think that as a woman, it’s really easy to not feel as though our lives have value and are more than good. But in reality, they are very good. If we were to strip this concept down to the very basics of good and bad. It’s that duality that tends to be a constant, and not necessarily what people designate as good or as bad. But putting that concept into a modern framework—To be considered good is basically to be provided with honor and dignity that a lot of people do not give. And if that is coming from a higher entity, there is no other higher honor, and it makes life a lot easier to live and grow: Tov Meod.
Saffron, you saved me from two hours of feeling unseen. Lifted me as you allowed me into your life for a moment. And in hope that your words of wisdom might strike us all, I express my gratitude for your trust. In another Hebrew term: For the Mitzvah you have extended to us all.
Talk tomorrow my good friends,