It is Christmas night and we are on our way to a dear friend’s home for dinner.
Our Uver driver is very talkative. He tells us about the job he lost last April. About the boss who was unreasonable. About the pride he took in his work and how he still appreciates running into old customers who tell him how much they miss him. He tells us all about his Christmas. About his girlfriend of five years who works security and walks 40,000 steps a day and how they celebrated Christmas on the weekend as if it was the actual day. About their thought process around possibly moving to a bedroom community soon and about his girlfriend’s 19 year old son who is mostly too busy to spend time at home.
In our 15 minute drive to our destination, he told us lots about his life, and his heart. It is a beautiful heart. Kind. Caring. And still, there was a sound of yearning in his stories. A sense of wanting more, or perhaps a feeling he is missing out on something he can’t quite define. He’s been in Canada fifteen years. It was a woman who brought him here. She had a ‘spending’ habit he told us. Left him five years after he immigrated for a man who didn’t try to curtail her habit but was willing to pay to keep it going.
Yesterday, while paying for the things I needed to make my Christmas dinner nametags for our family and friends feast on Friday, the woman at the check-out told me how she spent her Christmas. How it was just her and her cat and a neighbour who dropped by for a cup of cheer on his way to friends. She wished she had a dog – I’d been at the park and forgotten Beaumont’s leash was strung around my neck when I ran into the store. She wanted to know what kind of dog I had and told me how she used to have a Bichon mix. She cried for a week when he died, she told me. And now, her landlord doesn’t allow dogs. Just cats. She loves her cat, but she’s not the same as a dog, know what I mean? she asked.
As I gathered up my bag, she pulled out a multi-coloured feather duster from underneath the counter and started to sweep her counter space clean. “I can’t wait for this season of glitter to be gone,” she said as she dusted away the gold glitter that had fallen from the decorative branches I’d bought with the deftness of time sweeping away memories of Christmases past.
Stories of the heart. They shimmer in the light of accidental encounters, of fleeting conversations with a stranger, of quiet murmurings with loved ones and kin. They stretch across time’s unending passing connecting us heart to heart. As long as we are listening.
They bubble up in words salted with longing, dripping with regret, sighing under the weight of yearning, soaring on the wings of hope and possibility born in the heart’s murmurings for more. Connection. Belonging. Knowing of one another.
And always, they tell of what is true within us. What is important. What weighs our hearts down. What sets our spirits free.
As you go about your day, listen for the stories of the heart of everyone you meet. Listen deeply and honour their telling with your presence.
In your presence the stories will shine and the world will be a little brighter, and every heart will feel a little less alone in its shimmering beauty.