Taking A Quiet Moment

I was traveling back home from having a pretty ‘on the go’ morning. I just picked up one of my paintings from a quaint shop in Kimmswick, MO where I have original artwork and prints on display.  Before then I swapped out originals at my local print house that are being scanned for high resolution prints, and before that I was painting for an upcoming collaboration with an amazing local jewelry company.  

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By this time, it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I hadn't eaten yet today. I’m usually one to get hangry, but since there was no one to take my hunger anger out on, I drove in silence.  I was on the interstate and only 20 minutes from home, but I saw a sign for a chain restaurant and I remembered they had a great salad bar. It’s rare for me to get a hankering for a salad bar but it sounded particularly enticing this afternoon.

I went in and sat down.  The place was merely empty, just littered with a few customers here and there.  I think there were about five of us total, each by ourselves, listening to late 90’s - early 2000’s music playing over the speakers.  A familiar song comes on and I sing along in my head. Funny, I can’t remember the last time I heard Eve 6.

Not too far from my booth was a much older gentleman sitting by himself, drinking iced tea, and reading the paper.  He was an interesting fellow because he sat there quietly most of the time, but while reading the sports pages, he would express his disdain for whatever he was reading.  He didn’t yell, but he was loud enough where I could clearly hear him saying things like, “freaking idiots, what are the thinking?!” (although he did not say ‘freaking’) “what an ignorant guy!” (although he did not say ‘guy’)  Those were repeated a few times in addition to some inaudible mutters as well. I’ll admit, I found it slightly amusing.

I ordered a coffee and went for a round at the salad bar.  As I ate the overpriced, under fulfilling salad, I couldn’t help but ask myself “is it just this location that’s bad or was the salad bar in my hometown undesirable as well but I was too young and naive to realize?” It didn’t matter.  This was the meal I chose and I should count my blessings to have it.

After eating two plates of salad and three dried pasta salad noodles, I sat back in my booth.  I grabbed my coffee cup, wrapped my hands around it, and just sat. I didn’t scroll through social media, read my emails, or pull out my planner to see what else was in the pipeline this week.  (I already knew anyways.) I sat there, in that moment, enjoying the sense of accomplishment I had from the work I did this morning with a collaboration, the gratefulness that I picked up a painting that a complete stranger loved, purchased, and wanted to display in their home, and the overwhelming appreciation that this is my job.  I just breathed it all in.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to get wrapped up in running around that I often fail to stop and look around.  I don’t want to take this moment for granted. I don’t want to pass through this season of my life without appreciating where I am right now.  The fact that I do what I love for a living and I’m running my own business still feels very surreal.

Honestly, I have no idea why this snapshot of an uneventful meal at a chain restaurant prompted me to capture it in this writing, but I really think it was the moment of stopping, looking around, and appreciating where I was.  Not physically, but professionally and emotionally. 

It was a reminder to take a moment to breathe it all in and be grateful.