Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sisters

I am downtown with 10 free minutes.

It's a beautiful day for a short walk! I head out the door and take the perimeter around a large building which includes a strip of grass, a line-up of trees, and a huge parking lot. Parking lots! There has to be a better way to landscape a city. There are a few other pedestrians, but I especially notice the bicycle leaning against a post, loaded with all the worldly goods of its owner. The owner has to be the man who is sipping through a straw, sitting under a tree. And I presume he's homeless.

A moment of discomfort follows because I have to pass a man who is different from me. Because I've assumed he's homeless, it brings up all sorts of questions: does he need help? Will he ask me for money? Does he need to eat? If I give him money, will he spend it on alcohol or food? A simple walk becomes complicated.

I choose the simplest way to deal with the situation--I walk on past. We do however, nod our heads in acknowledgement of each other. It turned out alright! Until I turn the corner and have a feeling I need to go back and see if he needs anything. The tug of war continues until a clarifying moment cuts through the banter: What would my sister do?

Once I answer that question, the call is clear, YES, go back. My sister wouldn't have to go back, because she would have stopped the first time. I no longer hesitate; I have a job to do and turning back is easy. I'm armed with the power of sisterhood.

I have a friend with four other sisters. As a woman with two sisters, doubling that number is almost unfathomable, because I imagine her sisters are like mine: strong and powerful women who are a force to be reckoned with.

IF I ever need to know what's wrong with me, or if I need advice, I can always call a sister and find out what it is or what I need to do.  Sisters are the humbling force field in life; they are the always present guests in our life party. Sisters can be hard, sisters will haunt our consciousness. Sisters will make us better women.

"Are you alright?" I ask the man. "Do you need something to eat?"

"I have a job," he wants me to know right away. "I just got drunk last night and so I decided to take the day off."

"I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

"I'm good. Thanks for stopping."

"Of course. Take care."