Last week I was tiredly standing in line for the bathroom at Trader Joes when I heard a man say cheerfully “We’re here for another free sample.” I looked up from the floor and down the hallway to see a young Dad, dressed in a plain sweater, jeans, and a casual rumpled suit coat. His hair was dark blond, long, and pulled back messily into a pony tail. He had his little girl with him and she looked to be about four years old. Her hair was cut in a bob with bangs across her forehead and her hair was charmingly windblown and messy. Her face was clean, open, and happy and she was wearing a sweet feminine dress with a full skirt. The free sample was for her, “I don’t know why but I just liked it so much I had to have another one,” she explained happily.
I was seeing with my heart. Something about this little girl drew me out of my sad little world and into her pure and joyful one.
It was my turn for the bathroom and then I continued shopping.
As I paid for the groceries, the little girl and her Dad were just leaving their line at another register. As she walked by me and my cashier, she flung a wilted dandelion on the counter for the cashier as a gift. Not waiting or looking for a reaction, and with her Dad smiling at her, she continued to leave the store, flinging different flowers at each register, even the registers that weren’t open. I had a distinct feeling this was all her idea, and my heart smiled to think of her busily picking flowers before going to Trader Joes with her Dad. I also had the feeling that he had nothing to do with his daughter’s kind pursuits. He was standing back and watching and keeping her in his sight with a proud smile. It was like they were in their own quiet and beautiful little world.
I took my cart and left the store. I was heart-worn and weary from days of crying and working through my own personal challenges. I walked behind the two of them and headed toward my vehicle, leaving them behind me, my mind returning to it’s own gray thoughts again.
I heard the fast slapping of little running feet and before I knew what was happening, the little girl was at my side ……handing me a flower. I looked down at her, seeing the innocence and happiness of a sweet angel child. I bent down and asked her for a hug and she flung her arms around me and nuzzled her nose back and forth lovingly into my neck. I’ve raised seven four-year-olds so I am an expert judge of their hugs and this one was as precious as any, and warmed my soul.
Rich was in the car waiting for me. I put my head in his lap and cried as I told him what I had just experienced. His heart melted too as he said, “Shanda, that little girl was you. You are a giver and your loving and thoughtful personality is a gift to the world. You and she are the same.”
The heart sees what it knows. It recognizes. It loves.
I’m almost positive the next time I go to Trader Joes I’ll be taking flowers, too.
“You have a place in my heart no one else ever could have.” f. scott fitzgerald