This is how I touch people.
The line rang through the little theatre, stilling the shuffle of popcorn bags and the crinkling of candy wrappers.
Or perhaps it was just me who felt the stillness, who suddenly sat up a little straighter, and heard the roll of distant thunder and the whirl of timpanis that accompany moments when my cosmic truth is revealed (often in the oddest of ways).
This is how I touch people.
It doesn’t look like much, sitting alone on the page, so I’ll give you some context.
Andrew and I had headed downtown for tacos and a movie. Date night! A rare and cherished occasion in our hectic business-owner lives.
We parked and walked to the small arts cinema where we’re likely to run into three friends and someone’s visiting in-laws as we cruise seats. It’s the only theatre in town I actually enjoy.
Our plan? Grab tickets then dinner. We arrive to find people milling indecisively in front of the box office window discussing a sign that reads Air conditioning broken in the upstairs theatre. We check our movie: upstairs theatre. We check with the tattooed teenager at the ticket booth: the temperature up there is apparently in the high eighties.
Pause. We look at each other.
“Let’s get dinner and see if it cools down,” I suggest. So we walk over to White Duck Taco, anticipating quirky taco-y goodness… only to find that they’re closed on Monday nights.
I had left the house hungry, so none of this was going down well with me. Andrew pulled out his cell phone and found another theatre, one that had dinner as well, where Chef was also playing.
I was dubious. Random food on a tight timeframe when you’re gluten, tomato, and potato intolerant is seldom successful.
We arrive at the theatre and look at the menu. Sigh. This evening is so not going as planned. And eating my bread-less sandwich off a tray on my lap while watching a movie wasn’t adding to my happy.
I tried giving myself a pep talk (my clients tell me I’m good at those): this is an adventure, quit being a stick-in-the-mud.
But truthfully I was just trying to keep mustard off the unstained linen shirt I’d dug out for date night.
All this to say: I wasn’t in the best of moods. I wasn’t at a yoga retreat or meditating or eating a super-healthy, organically-grown meal lovingly prepared just for me, when the truth bomb detonated.
Okay, so I am in the movie theater eating a hotdog wrapped in mustard and a lettuce leaf off a tray in my lap when Chef (finally!) begins.
Basic storyline (don’t worry, I won’t ruin it for you) is that a boy spends the summer bonding with his dad, who is opening a food truck. Dad is on a hero’s-journey à la Joseph Campbell.
The boy is acting as a line cook when he burns a cabana (that’s a Cuban sandwich. Yup—there was bread everywhere!). The boy goes to hand the singed sandwich to a customer and the Dad stops him.
He pulls the boy outside and says to him (paraphrasing here):
I may not have been the best husband or the best father. But I do this thing right because this is how I touch people.
I sat, stunned.
I wanted to replay that scene a few times and let what the father was saying sink in:
We may not be perfect in the entirety of our lives, but we each have our unique way of touching others’ souls. It is there, in our place of connection, where we must shine—because the way in which we each touch those around us is our unique soul’s gift.
How do you touch people? Where is the place where you reach across the boundaries of self to share a bit of your soul?
Tell me about it below.