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Faces Passing By …

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Waiting in the left turn lane for this endless light to change, my wandering attention was caught by the faces passing me by … drivers turning right, and passing right by me as I waited … most of them on the phone, some of them, gaaaahh! texting as they were driving. Poker faces, smiling faces, some angry faces, but most of them intense, squinting into the bright sun, pulling down their visors as some of them careened around the corner, but most of the drivers intently maneuvering the tight turn as they passed me. The dark-haired young woman who just went by looked like she was in pain, with scrunched-up eyebrows and a downward slant to her mouth. Gee, I wondered, did something bad just happen to her, or maybe she’s late to an appointment? The next driver, a fortyish burly-looking guy, was a study in contrast—he had a big grin on his face, as he talked into his cell phone. With both of our windows partly down, I caught a snippet of a booming melody as he whooshed past. Next came a gray-haired woman who was talking animatedly into her phone, waving her free hand as she talked. After her, a young man in a Toyota truck cruised by, seemingly in his own world, staring straight ahead. What was he thinking about, I mused … I started thinking about what kinds of faces we all presented to the world around us, as we passed one another every day, almost always rushing, bemusedly fixated on whatever task or destination currently in our focus. Did others also wonder about our faces, asking themselves why we were frowning, smiling, or looked dazed and confused? I made a mental note to be more aware in the moment, and to stop thinking about what was coming up in the next few minutes, hours, or days, and to just be … to concentrate on where I was at that particular time, to pay attention to who I was with, and to just enjoy that moment. Maybe then, when my face passed by someone else, what they would see would be a woman who was just enjoying being alive and present … for that moment in time.

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