There is a gentleman I frequently see on my morning walks. Whenever I look up and see him down the street and know that our paths will cross, I smile to myself. I look forward to seeing him for one reason, well two really, his smile and his eyes. I think of it as one reason though, because the two go together. When he greets me with a smile, as he always does, his beautiful blue eyes light up. Yes, they light up enough that I can see the color of them as we pass in the street. I’m sure he doesn’t know that I look forward to seeing that light. I do though, because every time I see that sparkle, it reminds me of the light in myself. It’s as if each time I encounter that light in him my own light flickers in response.
I started to think about that on my morning walks. I always try to greet each person I pass on my way by looking them in the eye and smiling and saying hello. Sometimes they do the same and sometimes they do not. Once I passed a group of women walking together and one of them looked at me and said hello, one looked at the ground and said some sort of hello and the others didn’t acknowledge me at all. I didn’t take it personally, as they were having a conversation, but I did notice as I continued on that it did make a difference in some way. I realized that with just that small smile, moment of eye contact and hello the one woman was in some way acknowledging my existence. Not a validation, mind you, but simply a recognition of another being sharing the experience of this life. That moment made me sparkle more than the greetings or lack of greetings from the others. I was grateful to all of them though for the learning, because from that moment on I realized the importance of my morning walk and the greetings along the way. I knew I had the opportunity each time I saw someone (or even a bird, dog, flower or tree for that matter) to offer them a moment of recognition as an individual, a moment of sharing the journey and a reminder of their light by reflecting it back in my own smile, in my own eyes. I receive that gift so often on my walks from many people, what a joy to discover that I can give that gift in return. Perhaps I had been giving that gift all along, but now I could do it consciously.
I don’t know if that particular gentleman, or anyone I cross paths with on my walks, feels the gift they give or receive from a smile, but I will continue to gratefully give and receive them and enjoy the morning light that shines on me.