I was in my favorite local book shop yesterday and sat on a low stool in the corner atop a worn and frayed oriental rug, hunched over something by C.S. Lewis I just picked up and liked the feel of in my hands. On the other side of a book shelf dividing the room in two stood two women. One was around my age and I assumed the other to be her aunt or grandmother, someone closely related to her.
I couldn’t see their faces, as they were concealed by the vertical stripes of bound paper and only bits and pieces were revealed by stripes of light that shone through from the other side, like a dance of optical morse code.
Eavesdropping was inevitable, I almost felt like I was a part of the conversation, and in some sense I was. It was a conversation between me, a quiet observer, and these two women, the books filed away on the shelves and the distant sound of conversation in the cafe a few rooms over. I could feel that it was a moment suspended in time, a brief passing of minutes that, for some reason, stood out amongst the rest.
As the two women languidly perused, they began to talk about their family. The older woman expressed how grateful she felt to feel so close to all of the people in her family, the younger girl included. She talked about how she was so excited to see all the children in their family grow to be so unique; the younger girls’ brother was a creative brainiac, the sister was grounded by the earth, the girl herself was her own person. As I listened to this honest exchange between two family members, I felt a strange sense of honor being able to witness this intimate moment, being able to be a part of it.
I felt a sense of wonderment. I felt a residual type of love that had radiated from their exchange. This type of love is often hard to see and witness in our day to day lives. Sometimes I forget that it even exists at all. But what I realized while sitting on that stool fit for a toddler, tucked away in the corner eavesdropping, is that love is much easier to come by when you are open to it and when you accept it.
It would have been easy for me to completely ignore what these two women in the bookstore had to say and continue to be caught up in my own solitary mind. But I felt open to the universe in that moment, and the universe was nice enough to show me a glimpse of hope and love in a tiny bookstore.
If you are reading this, I urge you to open yourself to moments like these, perhaps even look for them in your own life because I can almost guarantee that they’ll be there.