As soon as I walked into the room, I saw my friend Jeff Brock navigate toward me through the crowd. He extended his hand and smiled a warm greeting. I followed him to a table where his wife, Hanna, waited for us.
Hannah smiled when she saw us approach. I noticed how her eyes sparkled as she saw Jeff. She and Jeff exchanged something unsaid, just before they sat on the same side of the table. Their exchange may have gone unnoticed by some. Perhaps it was my close proximity and friendship with them that allowed me to discern it?
What really mattered to me on this occasion, which was really no special occasion at all, was that it acted as a spark that unlocked an opportunity to witness something special. That was the start, two common place occurrences, seemingly unrelated to the whole that were actually critical connections to much more.
Our server arrived as soon as we were seated. She was bright, eager and laughed easily. We listened carefully to the daily specials as she rehearsed them. Then, she wrote our orders, repeated them for accuracy and turned to her left, all while giving us a brilliant smile.
I watched as she walked quickly across the way, toward the kitchen, where she conveyed our requested selections. I saw more smiles there. I began to trace her path back, the same one, from our table to the kitchen, from the kitchen back to our table.
My eyes stopped at every table in between. I looked. I listened. I was astonished. All before we began to eat.
Jeff, Hannah and I enjoyed our food and time together, right up to when we slid our chairs under the table and began to follow an invisible thread through packed tables and smiling faces. I looked to my right as we walked toward the exit. I had walked about 10 paces before the occupants of one table caught my attention.
Two people were seated at the table. They were different than me in many respects. And, when I saw them, a thought crashed to the front of my awareness.
“I can see our differences, but is one of the most glaring differences between us their obvious joy?” I thought.
Shortly thereafter, I walked out of the restaurant with Jeff and Hanna, after navigating toward the exit, through the crowd in front of us. They extended their hands and smiled a warm farewell as soon as we were outside. Then, I followed them closely as they made their way toward the parking garage and their car.
I was still bathed in the radiance of Jeff and Hannah’s smiles as I turned to walk down the street to my own waiting car. I particularly remember how their eyes had sparkled as they saw each other. I considered how they had exchanged something unsaid, just before they sat on the same side of the table.
The exchange may have gone unnoticed by some. Perhaps it was my close proximity and friendship with them that allowed me to discern it. What really mattered is this occasion, which had been transformed into a special occasion, was that they acted as a catalyst, a spark, that unlocked an opportunity to witness something special. They were the start, a conduit to multiple commonplace occurrences, seemingly unrelated to the whole, that were actually critical connections to much more.
I can see how I’m different from others in many ways, but is one of the most glaring differences between us obvious joy?
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.