Across the street from where I work is a fairly large mall that I'll sometimes head to at lunchtime. They have a pretty decent food court where I can pick up a salad or sandwich or slice of pizza when I'm too lazy to pack a lunch.
As I sat eating my soup and salad today, tucked into one of the corners of my favorite fast food joints, I had the chance to do some people watching. I caught small glimpses of peoples' lives; people who for the most part didn't know I was watching. People who had no idea they touched my life for one tiny moment in time.
I saw joy. A mom pushing a stroller with a baby girl, maybe six or seven months old, in it was walking with her young son who was probably about five. All of a sudden his face lit up and he broke out into a run. He approached an older woman and wrapped his arms around her in a great big hug. Grandma? Probably. There was such delight in his eyes as he looked up at her.
I saw tenderness. An older couple was sitting at a table out in the mall area. The man cleared away their dishes and tray and then helped the woman put her coat on. Her left arm was in a sling, which he gently covered. There was no hurry, no rush, just simple kindness.
I saw gratitude. Inside the restaurant where I was eating a dad came in with his young daughter. He patiently let her pick the perfect table at which to sit and eat her soup. She looked down at the steaming bowl and asked him, ever so politely, for some ice. He went off and filled a small cup for her and as he handed it to the young girl, she sweetly said "Thank you daddy!"
I saw mischievousness. As I was about to leave, a young boy wandered away from the table where his family sat and climbed the stairs. As his mom scolded him to return, I saw the gleam in his eye that went well with his fine, staticy hair standing on end.
Such a small moment in time, but so much to see.