I was heading to my yoga class the other morning, and, as always, I shouted hello to Ully, the local school crossing guard. There were cars approaching the intersection but no school kids, but nonetheless, Ully stepped into the intersection to stop traffic…

…to give me a hug.

We had started our warm hello’s when I passed through the intersection long before I got sick. He is one of those people who is especially wonderful to say hello to, and walking, running, or biking past him and shouting hello was a highlight of my mornings and my workouts.

Until I stopped working out (so much) when I got sick, and I saw Ully less and less and less. I missed his hello’s.

Apparently, he missed mine as well. My first time back down the block when I was stronger and he was there, he walked into the intersection and stopped traffic to give me a hug. A very, very, very big hug, as he kissed the top of my (then still pretty bald) head and told me how happy he was to see me and that he’d been praying for me the whole time.

I’ve seen him often since then. I always say hello and often get a hug, but generally there isn’t approaching traffic when I do.

Yesterday he stopped the traffic just to hug me (and again, kiss the top of my head).

I don’t know if the drivers minded or not. I cared a little if they did. But I also had to sit with how much better life and the world would most likely be if we all stopped traffic, at least every now and then, to give and receive hugs – from family, from friends, from practically strangers, from our local crossing guard.

People like Ully who unabashedly and loudly love and give to others inspire me to keep pouring as much as I can into the world as well. I know his hugs and prayers helped me (as did all of yours) survive and thrive. I know they help me still, every time I get one.

I want to pass that along. I want to stop traffic and give you a hug.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Gui França on unsplash

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