There are moments of the Sacred that surround us everyday. They scream at us, or whisper at us, or dance around us. Most of the time we are unaware of the dance, of the whisper. At times we hear the scream, or see the miraculous within the mundane. Regardless of us seeing it, it still is present, every moment perhaps. There are times when the sound bites get through. There are moments when my eyes are lifted from my stressful routined-existence and I see something beyond myself. I see something Sacred.
Yesterday we were in San Francisco for my husband’s birthday. The day was perfect, with clear skies and no wind. We ran all over the city, checking out Coit Tower, Union Square, Fisherman’s Warf, and finally ending the day with a trolley ride back to our parked car. The sun had set, and the cool air caused us all to snuggle a bit within the rattling cable car. There was a satisfied stillness to the ride, as we all sat at the end of another day of life, riding back to all our different destinations, stories, journeys, histories and lives.
Then I saw her. Probably no more than 3 years old, her big eyes taking in all of life. Her curls danced a frame around her face that painted a hint of kindred kindness, steeped in innocence. She sat there next to her mom, crossed legged on the uncomfortable wooden bench that is the cable car seating. She sat like an old soul with the openness and awe of a fawn.
Then the moment happened. She looked at me. Into my eyes. Across the cable car from her corner besides her mother and grandfather, she saw me. Our eyes locked. She looked at me with a curious kind of wonder, looked right past my adult masks that I’ve learned how to hold up and claim as my identity. She looked at me. I smiled at her. And then she smiled at me. But it was more than smiling at my face. She smiled at my soul. She saw me, and seeing that I saw her, she smiled back. That was it. But it was so incredibly powerful. In those 3 seconds she said more to me than has been said in a long time. She saw my true authentic self and smiled with that awe and wonder still written all over her face. She saw the human in me. I wasn’t a category, or a job, or a social status, or a religion. I was a fellow human being. And she recognized that beauty and returned a smile, as if we were in on the secret that, yes, indeed this life is beautiful. She showed me God. She exemplified the Sacred in that moment.
On a cable car? In San Francisco? With just 3 seconds so much can be said? The innocence of an exchanged look and smile of reverent commonality. A shared grin of “this is life, and it’s a beautiful ride, isn’t it?” A gaze that spoke the blessing of Namaste, which means, “The Divine in me recognizes and honors, the Divine in you.” I had encountered a moment of the Sacred from a 3-year-old fellow-traveler.
The Sacred is all around us. Have you seen it’s colors painted within the threads of your day? Have your ears heard the rise and fall of the song? Has your soul sensed the pulse of the dance, pulling on your routine schedule and challenging your steps to move to a different beat? The Sacred is all around us, and perhaps, especially in the chaos.