Today began like most weekend days with a gym workout and rallying my 11 year old daughter out of bed. We spent the early part of the day swimming at the pool with the rest of our community. The air was filled with laughter, splashing and sunshine. When lunch time approached, tension filled the air as the restaurant grill backed up with piles of orders for burgers, fries, salads and other assorted delicacies. After waiting over an hour for food, we pulled the rip cord and chose a new path.
We ended up at the air-conditioned mall on this rare, 90 degree Northern California afternoon. After a quick lunch in the food court, I found myself in a retail store chatting with Sue, a female clerk in her early 60’s. She was promoting the special candle sale of buy one get one free. Truth be told, I am a sucker for scented candles. In our brief encounter, I learned that she had two sons, with one beginning a pre-law program at UC Berkeley (my alma mater). From there, her face grew concerned as she shared her commitment to supporting her son’s education and his pending marriage. From there, I learned that she had been divorced around the same time as I had, and she was still struggling to move forward. I mentioned my recent book and her eyes lit up as if to say, “you must understand my fears. Can you help?” I shared my business card and suggested she call me any time she needed someone to talk to. I pointed her to my website so she could learn about my book and the Table of Disciplines about moving forward in times of uncertainty. Upon leaving the store with my candle purchase, I held her hand and told her it would get better.
You see, it takes just a few moments of connection to realize that we all share similar fears of loss, of shame and of judgment. Slowing down allows these connections to grow. It is easy to stay in our own private Idaho, but when we step outside, magical connections blossom where you least expect them. Go ahead… I dare you.