One morning, when I was around 9 or 10 years old, I noticed an older lady standing in her front door as I rode by on the school bus. Sensing a feeling of loneliness, I smiled and waved. She smiled and waved back. Both a friendship and a ritual, across 2 windowpanes and several feet of front lawn and pavement, commenced. Every morning, she would be standing there—waiting to share a warm smile and an enthusiastic wave.
Throughout the many years since this experience, there has always seemed to be one or two souls, along my routine path, who I exchange what I call the “deeper hi” with. The deeper hi is both momentary and long-lasting. It can be surrounded by a few words, but often happens without any words at all. It is a soul-to-soul whisper, a reminder that we’re all here together—that we all have a richness about us, cultivated through time and experience—that we all have stories—and that we all are a part of this one story—ours.
My current deeper hi is with a man who recently began walking with his grandchildren to school in the morning. We often cross paths somewhere along the sidewalk in front of the school. Only a sincere smile and “hi” or “good morning” are exchanged, yet, during that split-second greeting, we also communicate a sense of appreciation and recognition.
Noticing and acknowledging each other, even if it’s only through a small amount of eye contact or a brief nod, speaks of love for and awareness of our shared journey—a little message with big shape-shifting capabilities.
Tender and powerful,
it can wave away pain.
It can soften sadness.
It can strengthen the spirit.
It can stick around,
for a really long while,
weaving its own brand of magic...
...the deeper hi.