I was putting my strawberries and avocados on the checkout counter at the farm stand when I saw him. A baby boy just old enough to sit in the front of the cart with a tiny Red Sox cap on his little head. He was looking at me before I saw him, and I got the distinct impression he was trying to get my attention. When we locked eyes, I knew he was an old soul, and he had a lot to say. Without words, there was light and understanding, joy and peace. With his little baby smile, he seemed to be saying, “I see you” and “everything will be fine”, and though that’s an awful lot for a baby to know, I believe that this one did. I looked down to unload the oranges and basil from my basket and when I looked up, he was still with me, saying goodbye with his eyes, or more accurately, see you later.
I’ve had experiences like this before in my work as an early childhood music teacher, those moments of connection and light that are truly unexplainable except for the truth that we are spirits living in bodies. We can recognize each other even before we’ve ever met. Like we say at the end of every yoga class, Namaste: the light in me recognizes the light in you. I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of light in my time.
It’s a relatively common experience with children, these preschoolers who seem to know that our time together is about more than music, but you will occasionally find some grownups who maintain their inner light in a way that shines through their faces. The true friend sitting across a table, the teacher who pours out light over her students, the parishioner after church who comes up to the altar to talk about our music ministry with tears in her eyes, the woman in the cereal aisle who smiles like a benediction. It’s a quiet connection that defies explanation and invites gratitude and wonder. There is something holy about how we interact and relate with each other out there. There is so much potential and possibility in how we connect.
The goodness of an interaction like that makes me want to tend to my inner fire. I want to be someone through whom others experience the light of God, and that means letting Him make a home in me, letting Him grow until it is much more Him and much less me. That can happen in the context of any one of the things I do: teaching, singing, writing, but more likely it happens in the person I am. The breaking I’ve experienced over the last few years has made my spirit feel somewhat like a construction zone. The dust has been flying, and there’s so much noise and clutter, it can be hard to take sometimes. But maybe I’ll find at the end of this season that He’s been building something new all along. A structure with many more windows and open spaces than I had before. A place from which His light can shine for others, like it shines in that baby boy. It could very well be. After all, I am no baby, but He makes all things new, thanks be to God.