Its not hard to tell who meditates a lot, who prays a lot, who cries a lot or who fears a lot. If you pay attention, you can see everything in people's eyes. That lamp is lit and gives its secrets & stories thru the eyes. The more you pay attention to this the more obvious it becomes.
I judge people based on what their light looks & feels like to me. I admit it. People who meditate a lot can hold your gaze long enough for you to sink into their eyes. Radiance dances with depth and you don't mind sinking in because eyes like that become soft, downy pillows.
Some people's light is dim like a bulb flickering on and off, gasping for one last breath.
Then there are the people who cover their eyes with shades so you can't see what's in there. Usually the same people who wear hats that say things like "no fear".
So when I walked into the UPS store and greeted the woman behind the counter this morning, I was struck by her soft, mushy brown eyes. She was sweet and pleasant so I made small talk with her while waiting for the printer. My small talk sounds like, "so, how ARE you?" just so she knows I actually want to know. Her mouth said one thing but the eyes said something different, so I inquired, "What's going on?". Suddenly her eyes got cloudy, then the rain fell and like thunder she whispered, "My husband just left me". Lightening struck next with the words, "Right before Valentines Day. It was our anniversary". She stood there sobbing and I understood why her eyes were so deep and murky. Her grief turned her eyes into a womb.
Sometimes in situations like this between a man and a pretty woman, a man balances on a see-saw between "What can I get from her?" to "How can I be present for her?". When the storm becomes an invitation for vulnerability and the woman abandons pretense, she's standing firmly in her power. When that happens the only way to be is real, and the only way to be real is to get off the see-saw. The moment is a husk. Selfless transparency and genuine compassion are life cracking through.
I went with it. I got wet with sadness. But she was too soft to let me carry any of her burden so she tried to rescue me from feeling anything. She threw a cliche overboard hoping I'd cling to it. "I guess only time can heal it", she said through a smile . But we all know that's not really true. That's just what you say to pass thru the time when time feels like pins & needles in the soul. I returned the cliche with a more practical one: "Your faith will help you pass thru this. Please surround yourself with loving family and friends while you heal." We stood in the UPS store looking at each other in silence. It was better than words. Silence always is.
Then I told her something I heard a priest say when I was 8 years old. I don't know why this made such an impression on me, but I always remembered it and passed it on to this woman 45 years later: "If you could imagine the sound a seed makes the very moment it's cracking thru the husk and coming into life, it would sound like a scream." I reminded her she is the life and this situation is the husk.
I reminded myself that I am the husk and the situation is life.
What's this life inside me trying to get out?
What does it want to say?
What does it want to become?
I said goodbye to my new friend and turned to leave, but she stopped me. She walked out from behind the counter and wrapped her arms around me. We stood there hugging like old friends for about 2 full minutes. Enough time for my own shell to crack and bright green life to lift its face to the sun. I could feel the light glowing in the center of my chest so I took about 7 deep breaths and with each exhale I sent soft, warm light straight into her heart. And when I inhaled I drew in the light from hers.
We didn't talk about it. We just knew. It was better than words.
Hugs always are.
* DISCLAIMER: This post is an embellished re-editing of an earlier post "The Sound Eyes Make"