This Is How I Touch People

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This is how I touch people.

The line rang through the little theatre, stilling the shuffle of popcorn bags and the crinkling of candy wrappers.

Or perhaps it was just me who felt the stillness, who suddenly sat up a little straighter, and heard the accompanying roll of distant thunder and the whirl of timpanis that accompany these moments when my cosmic truth is revealed (often in the oddest of ways).

This is how I touch people.

It doesn’t look like much, sitting alone on the page, so perhaps I should give you some context.

Andrew and I had headed downtown to grab tacos and catch a movie. First we went to grab our tickets and there was a sign up in the theatre: air conditioning broken in the upstairs theatre. We checked our movie: it was in the upstairs theatre where the temperature was apparently in the high eighties.

Pause. We looked at each other.

“Let’s get dinner and see if it cools down,” I suggested. So we walked over to White Duck Taco, anticipating quirky taco-y goodness… only to find that they were closed on Monday nights.

I had left the house hungry, so none of this was going down well with me. Andrew pulled out his cell phone and found another theatre, one that had dinner as well, where Chef was also playing.

I was dubious. Random food on a tight timeframe when you are gluten, tomato, and potato intolerant is seldom successful.

We arrived at the theatre and looked at the sandwich list. Sigh. This date night was not going as planned. It didn’t get any better when I had to eat my bread-less sandwich off a tray on my lap while watching the movie.

I kept telling myself things like: this is an adventure, quit being a stick-in-the-mud.

But, truthfully, I was just trying to keep mustard off the unstained white shirt I had dug out for date night.

All this to say: I wasn’t in the best of moods. I wasn’t at a yoga retreat or meditating or eating a super-healthy, organically-grown meal lovingly prepared just for me, when the truth bomb detonated.

Okay, so I am in the movie theater eating a hotdog wrapped in mustard and a lettuce leaf off the tray in my lap when Chef began.

(Which I loved, by the way. The movie, not the hot dog.)

Basic storyline (don’t worry, I won’t ruin it for you) is that a boy spends the summer bonding with his dad, who is opening a food truck. Dad is on a hero’s-journey à la Joseph Campbell.

The boy is acting as a line cook when he burns a cabana (that’s a Cuban sandwich. Yup—there was bread everywhere!). The boy goes to hand the singed sandwich to a customer and the Dad stops him.

He pulls the boy outside and says to him (paraphrasing here):

I may not have been the best husband or the best father. But I do this thing right because this is how I touch people.

I sat, stunned.

I wanted to replay that scene a few times and let what the father was saying sink in:

We may not be perfect in the entirety of our lives, but we each have our unique way of touching others’ souls. It is there, in our place of connection, where we must shine—because the way in which we each touch those around us is our unique soul’s gift.

Pause.

Breathe.

How do you touch people? Where is the place where you reach across the boundaries of self and other to share a bit of your soul?