Tonight, you swing by a shop to pick up some last-minute ingredients for dinner. You’ve been there many times before, and the man who waits on you now has been somewhere between civil and pleasant in the past. It has always been a quick transaction on a small purchase, and done.
But tonight? Tonight, he spontaneously opens up and tells you stories as he’s ringing the purchase, stories that glow with personal meaning. Stories reflecting both his significant, past struggles and his ultimate triumph, wrestled through sheer hard work and tenacity…strengths that have helped him escape a desperate environment, immigrate here, and thrive.
When he is speaking, it feels as if he makes his soul visible, inviting you to see both his human vulnerability and his pride…not false pride, but the pride of someone who has given everything he’s got to better his lot and that of his loved ones.
It is a privilege to listen to him. To have him open up, leaning forward slightly, eyes first dark with difficult memories and then lit by excitement, victory. It’s yet another one of those moments suspended in time, illuminated from within.
It reminds you for the thousandth time why you wear a Santa Hat at Christmastime…to facilitate this openness. To expand the sense of possibility and of connection.
And also for the thousandth time, you recognize that while your Santa Hat is not essential to these moments of connection, the symbol of that hat–evoking magic, and generosity and joy–does catalyze countless numbers of such moments. These glowing reminders of our common humanity.
Images of light best capture the feeling of these experiences. Fleeting, eternal..and wholly luminous.
So, on this frigid and blustery night, in what could be seen as a season of darkness, you are continually dazzled by the radiance of all these human “stars”…. and the gleam that connects all of us.