Better than Joplin
She stood tall in her paisley printed, pink jumpsuit, her short dark hair accentuating her even darker, enormous eyes. She smiled, no, she beamed, at all the people smiling back at her, vying for just one look from those shining eyes. You could tell she knew everyone adored her. She wasn’t cocky or self-consciousness but rather filled with the joyous desire to taste everything life offered to her. She reminded me of a female rockstar from the 60s standing on the stage of an overflowing stadium, riding a momentary wave of peace and love. Looking at her made me believe the world could be, or perhaps already secretly is, a wonderful place. The air around her was filled with something that would be sold on the same shelf as hope but it wasn’t hope. It was awareness of that part deep within each of us that is connected to the divine no matter how we choose to define what we think of as holy. I walked over to the table on my way out. I squatted down and told her parents that their baby had the same look my son had long ago when he was a baby. The look of being well loved. Of knowing someone delights in your very existence. I told them it makes a difference. It changes everything. They smiled, joyous that someone could see into their hearts. As I passed their diminutive daughter, her feet planted firmly on her mother’s thighs, I felt grateful for the molecules of wonder she released into that tiny restaurant. I hoped more of us, even those who might never have been loved that way, could begin to love ourselves so we too could release spores of what-could-be into this world.