I was at the store the other day, dodging holiday shoppers as they filled carts with baking supplies and gift cards and perfume sets and bright plastic toys and television sets and the occasional bike wheeled alongside. People seemed pretty happy and not too stressed by it all. I walked around and got what I’d listed in my head as needing: salad greens, socks, hair product, some oranges. I realized that these were things I wanted, not things I needed. I guess the greens and oranges are needs for sustenance, but socks, hair stuff, or hangers are total luxuries. I didn’t feel some sort of guilt about getting this stuff, just an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I felt lucky.

I headed home and as I drove on the four-lane highway back to my town, a funeral procession approached in the oncoming direction. As is the custom here, a police cruiser led the way for a hearse and a stream of cars with headlights on mid-day. There is not a lot of traffic on this highway. Most days as I drive to and from work I see only a handful of cars. This was a Saturday before a holiday, so there were perhaps four cars visible ahead of me and five or six behind. All of us pulled over and stopped out of respect for the passing funeral. The older gentleman in the well-loved and well-worn pickup truck in front of me removed his baseball cap, smoothed back his hair, and bowed his head. The funeral procession rolled on and we started back up again to our various destinations.

It was such a sweet moment of tenderness among strangers and one that has been swimming in my head since. I felt even luckier. And I felt great love for the people mourning a loss and the other drivers who took a moment to respect that pain, that passing, that cycle.

Little moments should overwhelm us with love. Shit, man, EVERYTHING should overwhelm us with love.

Happiest of holidays to you all and here’s to new years and new seasons filled with love and strangers who aren’t strangers because they are us.