This is a longer version of what I posted to Facebook earlier this evening, while sitting soaked in my car:
I cried many times today. I cried for the news that is overwhelming our world, and because, selfishly, I'm not sure of my place in it. I cried at lunch and I cried in between meetings, and it was everything I could do to not look splotchy and swollen-eyed. When I left the office the sun was shining and the rain was coming down, and I felt a deep sadness.
Driving home, I turned on a street I don't usually drive down on the evening commute, struck by a double rainbow that covered the city. I pulled over and, already soaked, got out of the car and stood on the viaduct in that rain and felt a tremendous sense of joy. Smacked right upside the head.
I took out my camera and Instagrammed a few shots. Walking back to the car, the rain sticking my shirt to my skin, a woman smiled at me from inside her car. She was pulled over taking pictures too. Her smile was radiant and we said hello. I think I blurted out "I needed this!"
And after I walked back to the car and sat there a few seconds, I knew I needed to know her.
So I walked back and gave her a piece of paper with my name and email and asked if she'd send me the photos she had taken with her camera -- a real one. Because I wanted to remember this moment. And would she mind taking a photo with me?
Then we were met by another woman. And a man. Some teenagers stood behind us. Pulled over on the viaduct, struck by this rainbow that really was too beautiful for photos, something that sounds trite and like it should be on an inspirational cross stitch. Only it wasn't trite. We were all standing there in the afternoon light talking about how beautiful it all was.
The women's names are Sharmaine and Ree. They are in a photo club that meets regularly in Birmingham, which I may have invited myself along to their next outing. Ree pointed out the light behind us in the clouds as well. They made me feel that I am not alone and we are not alone. Because we are not.
All I know is that when that voice says pull over: pull over. When that voice says to talk to someone, do it. Be open, stay open, listen to stories, tell real stories. Find your tribe on a viaduct.