I go to one of the few laundromats in my area, at least once a week. This one can be really entertaining; there are some characters who come in there with loads and loads of clothes and many times the place is packed. At those times, it can even be a bit dicey as some are shouting into their phones and at each other! Betsy Nicole is the attendant and she knows them all. She’s usually there when I am, working hard, greeting each one who comes in and many by name.
When an elderly man pulled up and walked in, he was carrying a zip-lock bag with coins, receipts, handkerchiefs, and paraphernalia, bags inside bags like Maruschka dolls. She walked around the counter and the scale where she weighs the laundry, and he opened his arms and she stepped in to give him a hug. Then, she walked outside and opened the trunk of his car, grabbing 2 big bags and a blanket, and brought them in. Big bags, BTW.
That’s Betsy Nicole. Did I mention she’s tiny and looks like she weighs under 100 pounds? As big as those bags!
I told her she’s an angel and her friends laughed saying something to her in Spanish and when I asked what they were saying, they said, “Sometimes, she’s an angel!” It was this sometime angel who touched me today inspiring me to write this as she was the demonstration of how a simple act uplifts us.
We need to elevate ourselves, I think. We are crying out to be uplifted. Too often, we are reacting to what we think someone else is not doing for us. When we live in such affluence, we can become selfish, and selfless acts help us feel better about ourselves and others -that’s what really uplifts us. Inspires us. Moves us. Like Betsy Nicole did today. Today, someone reminds us to look out into the world and even in the midst of our everyday life, to make a simple gesture which not only touches the man who was hugged, but me, and the others who witnessed this act of kindness.
This is what compassion does for us. There she was, working at her job, which she does diligently, while doing her job with kindness.
No matter what we’re called to do in these times, whether raising our fists in resistance, or voting for our rights and the rights of others, or gathering to contemplate what steps we need to take for change – we can take each step and action from the ground of compassion and no matter what the outcome, we are all better for it.
First, do no harm.
So simple. Why is it so often forgotten? This morning, I remembered and was humbled as Betsy Nicole demonstrated that a laundromat can become a sacred space because one person remembered that someone else is deserving, sacred and holy! Really. How great is that?
My clothes are clean, folded and now put away, while this memory, stays pure and washes me of grasping.