I had just moved into my new apartment and it was a rough day at work. A lot was on my mind that didn’t even have to do with work. It was one of those days that makes you question what you’re doing in life. Where are you going? Are you doing things right? Who knows, really. All I knew was that I needed a beer.
I was new to the neighborhood, but everyone was super friendly in the area. I walked in, sat down, asked for my Guinness, and then the conversation began. The bartender was such a sweetheart and our conversation was nice. Uplifting. Then a group of people at the end of the bar, who were clearly dear to this bartender, called me over to take a seat with them. So I did.
The bartender introduced me to his buddies as if he and I had known each other our entire lives. We all got into conversation. Started talking about our lives. What we do, where we live, where we’re from. It was enlightening. These people were older than me, different than me. It was nice to be with people who I automatically felt close to, but they truly knew nothing about me.
I acknowledged how friendly they all were, and I said it out loud. “You guys are such nice people, I’m glad we met tonight.” The bartender then said the known statement, but added my name into it, which for some odd reason touched me a little. “No strangers here, Cass. Only friends you haven’t met yet!”
I believed him, I really did.
Those people learned about me throughout the night, and I learned about them. But more importantly, I learned FROM them.
I learned that the bartender was actually right. Nobody we encounter is a stranger. We are all the same in some way, whether it’s the way we hurt, the way we strive for things, the way we wish for things. I learned that if you take just a second to get to know the person next to you, you’ll be surprised at how we are all in this together. Life. We’re all living life. And that’s what we have in common most.
I learned that, “When the good thing comes, make sure to jump on it.” One of the Irish men told me this. His English wasn’t all that great, but what I could understand from his mouth all made sense. He told me this after I had told him about past relationships and how certain occurrences in my life had left me losing hope. I nodded and agreed with him that good things don’t always come often. And I told him that I’d try to jump on them from now on when they do.
Yeah, you can say that we were a couple shots of whiskey in. I stayed at this bar WAY longer than intended.
I learned that nothing is by accident or coincidence. I do believe that I was meant to walk into the bar downstairs from my apartment that night.
I learned that age really is just a number. Sure, age defines the way we act, the way we view matters, the stages in our lives in general. But these people sitting next to me told me about their hardships, and they weren’t all that different than mine. These people were middle-aged and older, and I am in my early twenties. We’re all facing something, no matter our age.
So if you were to ask me what this all means, I would tell you this. It means that when we intend to be alone, it is usually that moment that God gives you a helping hand. And I’ve found that this helping hand is usually in the form of another human being. I walked into that bar downstairs with the intention to sit and have a beer by myself. And it was then that these strangers, who were soon to be friends, came into my life and taught me a couple lessons.
Another lesson I learned is to go have a drink by myself after a long day at work.