I have not been able to get his eyes out of my mind. They were so sad in a way that a million words could not convey. I could tell with my first glance that this interaction would require me to be fully present and patient in order to be kind and compassionate. My intention was to give a gift of kindness, not knowing the treasures that he would gift to me.

I approached and greeted him with a smile and my quiet heart. I looked into his eyes and wished away the unshed tears and began a conversation.

In my heart I surrounded him with love and understanding as he slowly and deliberately picked his words, like choosing the best piece of fruit on a tree to pick and share. I savored each morsel of himself that he shared with me, and I received such precious gifts.

I learned that he and his wife were on their way to their new home, after all these years finally able to afford the home of their dream in a place that spoke to their heart.  I learned of the décor that gave him so much excitement – the pool outside with the arches and the pillars, the artisan tile in the kitchen and the fireplace in the living room. I learned of his joy in his wife’s excitement.

He shared of his years of hard work and the reasons they could never before either afford or choose the home of their heart. His eyes glowed with pride in telling of his daughter in the Symphony Orchestra and of his sons who were now good husbands and good fathers.

He spoke of his veterinary practice and of the different horses that he cared for. He shared that as much as he absolutely loved his profession, that his first loves were archeology and anthropology. His eyes lit up and he placed his hand over his heart in a display so beautiful it brought me to tears as he spoke about studying the Pecos. Now, he said, he would be in an area where he could see and study.

It is true that his mind may not be as quick as it once was and that the journey through a story now takes a leisurely stroll through a winding path in the woods. Sometimes the path was not always clear and we had to double back and find a new way. Oh, but the treasures to be found along the way!

And even still, those treasures dim in comparison to the treasures of the light of a beautiful heart shared.

Such gifts we could all receive if we only calmed our hearts and took the time for a leisurely stroll on a winding path in the woods.

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