I decided to try out a new nail salon this weekend. When I arrived, I checked in at the front desk, and the receptionist led me to the color bar to choose my colors. As I was thumbing through the many rings full of fake nails, I noticed the salon was bustling to the brim, with customers filling every chair they had. I chose Tulip Pink and Red Rasperry red for my nails in honor of Valentine’s Day (I am a cheesy romantic like that) and took a seat on the long white sofa to wait.
As I was sitting there, browsing my phone and enjoying the peaceful music playing over the loudspeaker, I noticed a group of women coming in the front door. They checked in, chose their preferred nail color, and sat down beside me on the couch. I scooted over to the edge of the couch so they could comfortably sit together and assured them it was no problem at all for me to make more room.
You may not know this about me, but I will talk to anyone. Many would say that personality trait is a blessing and a curse. I will let you form your own opinions on that one. Nonetheless, the older lady of the group sat beside me, and we struck up a conversation. She couldn’t believe how busy it was either, and we both ended up sitting there chatting for nearly an hour past our scheduled appointment time. We talked about the weather, dip-powder nail problems, and everything else we thought of as we sat there patiently waiting. She would chat with the other women who were with her, and at one point, I heard her ask one of the younger girls if they had a date for Valentine’s Day. The young teen blushed and shyly explained that she kind of sort of maybe had a date. The lady chuckled and kept scrolling on her phone.
The question I regretted asking
When it was finally my turn to be serviced, the owner, who kept apologizing for our long wait, motioned us over to two plush teal and gold chairs that so happened to be side by side. The owner assumed we were together as we sat there gabbing for an hour. We took our seats, and our nail techs began working on our fingernails, turning them into perfectly manicured fingers. At one point, her nail tech had both of her hands in the warming bags that melted off the old dip-powder nails and asked her what new color she wanted. She asked me if I cared to grab her phone and open her photos app to see which color number she had picked out.
I gladly scrolled over to her photo app to see the color number. “Did they expect me to memorize it,” she laughed. Our conversation died down after that as my nail tech finished up my very bright red and pink nails. The owner brought my ticket over to take it to checkout as soon as my nails were dry. My new friend told me she loved the colors I chose.
I told her they were my Valentine’s Day-inspired nails and then asked her if she had any plans for the special holiday. Then I immediately regretted asking her this question, but there was no going back even though I felt like I could crawl under the nail techs station. This is when my love of taking becomes a curse.
With a new noticeable sadness in her tone of voice, she told me that she didn’t have any plans for the holiday. It was coming up on two years since her husband had died. She went on to tell me that he had fought cancer for several years (and did well for a while) but ended up having complications from Chemotherapy that ultimately led to his death. She told me how hard it was when he was placed in a rehabilitation center, and she couldn’t visit him for an entire month due to their strict rules. I listened intently and told her I was so sorry for her loss.
She told me that the girlfriends who were there with her were one of the only reasons she got through that tragic time. I told her how I understood how rough chemo was because my husband recently went through it. It shocked her that he was so young to have battled cancer, but for a moment, I believe she was glad we connected over the realization that we had both been through the ugly world of cancer. Before I left, I patted her arm and told her I would be praying for her. She smiled at me, and we parted ways. I paid for my service at the checkout desk and walked to my car.
When I shut my door and turned my car on, I wasn’t embarrassed with myself for asking her the question. I was glad I asked her about the undoubtedly cheesy but fun holiday. We were two strangers who connected in a nail salon on a windy Saturday, and it reminded me of a few things.
1. We have the power to encourage those around us. How many strangers, and dare I say loved ones, do we come in contact with daily and ignore? This lady didn’t look at all like she was having a hard time on the outside, but inside she was struggling. Even our loved ones can be struggling right in front of us if only we take the time to look and listen.
2. Don’t be afraid to share your story with people. I often think about how we all have unique stories. We have all been through something, and I believe that we should use our stories to help others. When God walks you through tragedy, I believe it is our responsibility as Christians to help others walk through the same seasons we have walked.
So even if you don’t have a special someone to hold close and spoil this Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to reach out to someone who might be feeling lonely or grieving the loss of their loved one. More importantly, share the love of Jesus Christ with someone who may be lost and in need of the ultimate source of love only found in Him.