sometimes life gets really stressful really fast, the kind of stressful that has you counting down the hours until you can crawl back into bed. I feel like every time I cross one thing off my to-do list, three more things take its place, and the "catch-up game" is way too real. but sometimes you meet someone like robert.

honestly I couldn't tell you the last time I bought groceries, but with 5 days left in rexburg and nothing left in the pantry I figured it'd be best to make a quick trip to the grocery store. of course, I got stuck behind a woman on her cellphone, aimlessly meandering through the aisles oblivious to her surroundings. I darted around her and into the cocoa aisle. an older gent, with a tightly-wound scarf and a mess of white hair, stood surveying the wall of chocolate powder before him, making casual remarks to me. I responded with an uncomfortable smile and nod, itching to get back to my ever-growing list of "to-do's".

he drew close and began conversation. he asked my major and year in school, and I politely explained my interest in communications. we spoke of the snow, the cold, and bonded over our mutual love for heated blankets. the more he spoke, the less I worried about the time. he told me of his memories as a professor, teaching spanish, german, and french, all 3 of which he is still fluent. with misty eyes he expressed to me how much he missed it, "oh how I miss it. I miss talking to people. we're all God's children ya know?" and he said that directly to me, looking me steadfast in the eyes. as our exchange came to an end he clasped my arm and told me I am capable of great things. ME, the girl who rarely made it to class on time because she slept through 6 alarms. and then I was the one misty-eyed.

this 70-year-old stranger had more kindness and hope in one moment than I had in the entire semester. and his kind words were exactly what I needed to hear. they reminded me to stop and breathe, to actually get a lungful of air. they reminded me that I can do great things, finals and clean checks included. and they reminded me to have hope for things to come.

a heartfelt thank-you for your sweetness robert, my friend.


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