I run out of the drear and into a nearby pharmacy for some household supplies. From across the store, I hear someone shouting, “Hey, Santa! Good morning, Santa!” and realize a tad belatedly that the twenty-something clerk is calling out to me. The Santa Hat I am wearing has sent out its invitation for connection, once again.
After I smile and respond to her in kind, I head off for the shopping. When I come up to the counter, the cashier is clearly gleeful to be chatting me up, so much so that I ask her what’s on her Christmas list. Without hesitating, she tells me what she is really yearning for and why: To help overcome a recent difficulty. The cashier next to us joins in, offering advice and encouragement.
After this goes on for a bit and I am getting ready to leave, I look the young woman in the eye and tell her I am pulling for her. She is smiling, seemingly reassured. I have the feeling that this matters to her.
As I walk out of the store, with the good-natured banter and the open-hearted conversation echoing, I ask myself what can I really do? Wish her well, and even visualize her struggle easing. Yes, of course.
But I also realize that maybe, just maybe, in sharing that moment of playfulness, hope, expansiveness, we’ve done the most important thing already. Shared a moment of heart, of humanity that is now spinning its way out into the universe, glittering endlessly its own magic.
And where there’s magic, everything is possible.