A moment I remember. Rain drizzling. Mud swirling round my feet. We are dragging many parcels out of the Roatan vacation rental and into a taxi van. I squeeze in the back with the children, waiting for Dar to hurry in from the rain. Instead, he turns to the driver and introduces himself, finds out the driver’s name, his son’s name, shakes both their hands, explains where we want to go.
A moment of courtesy. So simple and real, and yet a revelation to me. In my eyes, the taxi driver was a means to an end. I wanted to get out of that resort, and he was literally the vehicle taking me away. To Dar, however, the taxi driver was a fellow human being with whom he was going to spend some part of morning and who he therefore wanted to get to know.
A moment of insight. My heart told me that I wanted to go through life meeting people in the same way, reaching out to each individual as equal in importance: a stewardess taking my ticket to scan, a waiter serving me a meal, a friend I meet for a gossip-laden lunch. Catching a person’s eyes, asking a meaningful “how are you?” and really pausing for an answer have gained me feelings of closeness and appreciation from a seat mate on the plane, a fellow writer in a conference, and the checkout lady at the grocery store.
A moment of contact. I follow my path in life, meet other people, and my bubble of life touches theirs and then separates, departs. The longer I linger with every encounter, the more I am part of the myriad puzzle of life. Each contact opens an opportunity for knowledge, for growth. I ask myself, “is there something I can learn from this meeting, from this homeless man on the street or the old lady who began talking, clearly in need of some loneliness relief? Was there a point to the irritating girl who tried to convince me to donate to Greenpeace and wouldn’t let me go?”
A moment of gratitude. Sometimes that’s all, and everything, I can reap from this touching of life bubbles. A feeling of well-being, of inter-connectedness with others on this world. An awareness that kindness exists, generosity, good humor. The realization that I am not so different from the mother of the little boy who is screaming and crying and kicking his legs on the floor of the department store, from the frustrated little boy himself, or from the saleswoman behind the counter who pretends not to see the chaos unfurling right there before her eyes.
Amazing how we are all one and we are all unique. All interesting and worth getting to know. All worthy of being loved and listened to. The garbage collector, the mortuary manager, the dog walker and policewoman, the president of the USA, the bus driver, the computer guy in the next cube. Me and you.