What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Lines of Misery November 20, 2018

The husband and I went to Panera for breakfast before a very long day of work last week. Just, you know, a sugar and cinnamon crusted bagel treat to get us through a twelve-hour work day.

Anyway, the cappuccino machine broke, and we had to wait in the parking lot for a while so they could deliver our coffee to us. (Drive-thrus man… you win some, you get stuck sitting in your car for some.)

We finally got our caffeine fix and went to leave the parking lot, and there was this girl walking across traffic as slowly as an able-bodied person could imagine walking. She was wearing clothes to start a shift as a server, and her face was just the most miserable I have ever seen.

Now, keep in mind, I had just gotten past my first sip of cappuccino, so I was still in a bleary fog, but I just watched this sad, sad creature shamble in front of our car.

The husband thought maybe she was having a rough day. But there was something about her face. She was probably mid-twenties, but she had lines of misery etched around her mouth. Those kinds of marks only come from long term hating of one’s life.

I have no idea why she’s so desperately sad, and I don’t know if there would be anything I could do even if I did know the cause of her unhappiness.

It was just shocking to see those lines on somebody so young. When you look at an older person, you can see from the lines around their face what sort of life they’ve lived. Is their forehead marked with tension lines, or are their eyes surrounded by laugh lines? Scowl lines above the nose, or smile creases around the mouth?

She was too young for wrinkles, let alone misery lines.

I wish her well wherever she may be, but maybe we can learn a little from her face. Maybe if we take the time to study each other’s faces we can learn a little more compassion for those in need. Or ask the ones with laugh lines to tell you their favorite joke.

Either way, take a moment to read someone’s face. It might tell a very interesting story.


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