A moment exists when Claire greets a stranger that I worry how the person will react to her. Some people are busy, they don't like kids, they need their own space. I don't want Claire to feel rejected. It's my projection. People do reject her. She remains undeterred. Today, everyone took a leaf, so my worries were for naught. They often are.
Claire goes into every situation like it is new. She has no expectations of the other person, no preconceived notion of how her actions will be received. Today, she wanted to give out some leaves.
I want to be more like her. I wonder if I ever was. Was I always too shy to hand out leaves when I was little? Or did I become self-conscious somewhere along the way? I have a feeling it was the latter.
Watching Claire, I see the wisdom of reaching out to people. The group of strangers seemed insurmountably unapproachable to me at first, oblivious to their surroundings and lost in a smart phone or somewhere in thought.
Yet, Claire broke through the haze with a simple gesture. When she did, it was like the weight of their own preoccupations had been lifted from them. They took her offering of simple beauty. They greeted her with a smile or a few words to match her generosity.
We don't take the opportunity to look each other in the eyes enough. Children do. We immediately become more present and alive. I saw each person look in Claire's eyes and be transformed.
Each leaf held so much; it symbolized more than the leaf itself. Each leaf was Claire's generous offering of simple beauty. It was her innocent belief that leaves are like gold, and that people would receive her gift. It was the willingness of people to go along with her on her flight of fancy about gold leaves. It was a revelation given to me by my daughter. But most of all, each leaf was a catalyst for connection between two people.
I want to be like more like my daughter. Don't you? Today, I'd like to try an experiment: I am handing you a leaf. You shall decide how you receive it.
Photo Source: Lisa L Wiedmeier, WANA Commons, Flickr, this image has been altered, which does not suggests that the licenser endorses this blog, me or its use. License