When I spotted Mark and Melvin relaxing on the bench on Caroline Street, I was immediately drawn to their quiet camaraderie. They leaned back into the curve of the bench, Mark on the left, Melvin on the right, as if giving the full weight of both body and mind to the support, freeing them entirely for the moment. They exchanged a few words once in a while, one nodded his head, and the other simply grinned.
I approached to ask if I might take a picture of them, and they smiled eagerly. Mark explained that he lives here in Fredericksburg, and Melvin chimed in to tell me that he lives in Northern Virginia, just 15 minutes from Washington, DC. Melvin likes to escape the city and head for the country, and when he does, he visits his buddy, Mark.
They smile for the pictures just as they smile at life.
We talk for a bit and when I offer to send their pictures to them, they say, “Thank you, Ma’am” and “God bless.”
As I walk away I am reminded of a passage from a new book I am reading, The Lost Art of Good Conversation, by Sakyong Mipham.
Nowness Is the Secret Ingredient.
It is simply showing up for your life. There is no other time but now. When two people show up for conversation, it becomes inspiring, interesting, and playful because we can just be there. No one feels as if they have to go somewhere else.