Every once in a while I see something that stops me in my tracks. Or at least my heart. Sometimes my feet. I'm always on the lookout for things going on that slip under the radar. So I guess you could say I'm constantly trying to hone my radar because I just hate to miss the thing going on right in front of me. The magic hiding in the cracks with potential to stop me in my tracks.
On this particular day, Sean and I were in Walmart. When we lived in NY, Walmart was a unique experience. A bit of an amusement ride. A rare opportunity and a novelty. Much like grocery stories and shopping malls. I used to drive many many miles in Long Island to go to the mall just for fun. It was so unusual. We always made it a point to go to Walmart when visiting family and we'd buy junk shoes and print photos from the kiosk from our digital camera and enjoy the bizarre experience it always was to visit the Walmart. It was fun because it was new and strange. Now it's more commonplace and less fun. Much more mundane. Kind of bleak. A little soul-sucky. I personally loathe it and get immediately depressed upon entering and taking my first inhalation of that special Walmart scent that reeks of crying children, forgotten hopes, and broken dreams. And bananas that are in their own special place at the checkout (why).
So my plan is always: in and out. in and out. no stopping, no pausing. Or better yet, I'll wait in the fire lane while you run it. Better still, please don't make me go. Lately I've been adding "Walmart run" to Julian's summer chore chart which is the best. We live near enough he can walk and it's good for him and his growth and development and good for me and my overall wellness.
One day, though, something magical happened. And it's stayed with me. Sean and I were running to the produce for something we'd forgotten and on our way back we passed a father and a young child, maybe 3 years old. If I hadn't had my radar on, I would have missed it. Luckily it was, and I noticed the father being extra slow with his son. Extra patient. Extra calm and attentive. He crouched lower, whispering a continuous stream of tender words in his ears as he helped him along. He reached down and handed fruits to his son. "Here's a lemon. Here's an orange." And I realized that this tiny tot was blind, and my heart immediately shuddered and cracked and I reached out for Sean's arm. I wanted to cry right then. What different kind of life was theirs. What kind of different Walmart experience were they having. A special kind. A slow kind. Where I was hating it and rushing it, wanting to leave, his was special and meaningful, and important. One that said, "We are going to the store and I'm going to show you fruits and vegetables and other wonders."
I wistfully looked back at them, wanting to stay and watch the entire thing. But I did not. I left them and let them have their experience, allowing it to completely alter my own.