An attractive, older couple walked by my table in the coffee shop and were seated nearby. When I saw them occasionally in my peripheral vision, they appeared engrossed with each other–no frequent glances around or diverted attention. In love or smitten or otherwise deeply connected.
So, I was surprised when I saw the woman an hour later at the train station, waving to me in recognition as I descended the stairs. As I moved closer, she called out “we love your hat! When we saw you in the coffee shop, we cheered! You’re just spreading joy all over the place.” Wow, I could have sworn she hadn’t even seen me and my Santa Hat.
We bantered good-naturedly a bit before I headed off to the train track with my dear one, who was catching a train. Ten minutes later, the woman’s peacock blue jacket was coming toward me again as the train pulled out of the station. But this time, the woman was crying. Murmuring to me as she passed by “it’s so very difficult to say goodbye.”
Absolutely. My heart was heavy with goodbyes.
I wished her well, and headed out into the world. Recognizing once again how much our lives can turn on a dime–one minute we may be exuberant and the next, grief-stricken. The woman’s actions reminded me how especially important it is, then, to seize the moments of joy, to revel in them when we can, for they are tremendous gifts, albeit evanescent ones. Just as she had done–joyful even when her painful separation was imminent.
She also reinforced for me why I wear this Santa Hat: To foster a sense of that joy, as well as one of connection. Even when we were sad, we had the comfort of sharing a connection, and one that had been sparked in joy.
“Find a place inside where there’s joy and the joy will burn out the pain.”~Joseph Campbell