May 23, 2021
All real living is meeting. – Martin Buber
from Cynthia Aldinger, founder of LifeWays North America
Malls are not my thing. Actually, shopping is not my thing. It was not something I missed when the government began restricting human encounters. However, there was something I missed, had been missing for some time. “Just-the-two-of-us-time” with my daughter-in-law. When my husband was in the early stages of recovery from a serious illness, we were living with our oldest son and his family. Rebecca and I would occasionally slip away, leaving the littles with Papa (their father) and Bop (their grandfather) for a few hours while we went to the thrift store to find a few treasures that the children could wear or a new blouse for me when she felt my clothes were beginning to look tired! Both of my daughters-in-law have a fashion sense that has never been in my genetic makeup!
Once we had moved into our own home a few blocks away, such getaways dwindled. When 2020 unfurled with my husband and I succumbing to the virus-of-the-year with a lengthy recovery, the idea of going to any shop was unappealing. Instead, we scheduled a few long weekend getaways with the whole family, renting log cabins in wooded areas with walking trails nearby. Far more life-restoring really, than the momentary high of a bargain blouse! However, when Spring 2021 showed up and one could sense at least a tiny lifting of the veil of oppression, coupled with the need to exchange a few purchases she had made, we made a date – just the two of us! Yes, it was shopping; yes, it was at the mall; and YES, we would be stopping for a lovely tea and conversation when it was all over!
And then something very unexpected, unplanned, and unusual happened. As we were walking by a lovely store with beautiful kitchen items, I remembered that for years I had been searching for a tiny whisk like one I once had. Like a little personal froth-maker for one’s coffee and cream. As soon as we entered the shop, an older man, masked (as was still the protocol of the moment), asked if he might assist us. He was tall, with grey hair and kind eyes, and his very presence and close proximity felt like a soft ocean breeze reminding me there is goodness in the world. I shared with him my longstanding search to find a tiny little whisk, and that surely he, of all people in the universe, was the one who would find it for me!
He immediately escorted us over to the whisk display and lifted one off the hook, suggesting this was a lovely small whisk. Small, perhaps, but it was certainly not tiny. I confessed that I already owned the one he was showing me, and that I really did mean that “tiny” was my heart’s desire. His countenance changed as he glanced around the store, then leaned in with a soft whisper. “I have one that I will give you, but you musn’t tell anyone!” Casually walking over to his register, all of us trying to look as innocent as we possibly could, he stepped behind the counter, opened his register, looked up to see that no one was watching, then slipped his hand into mine with something delicate cupped in such a way that it could not be seen. I glanced under my fingers. There it was! Identical to the one I used to have! Without thinking I quietly asked, “May I hug you?” which he allowed. My first non-family-or-close-friend hug in over a year! For my daughter-in-law I think it was a sort of Twilight Zone moment; for me, however, it was affirmation that love is alive and well and shows up in the most unexpected places! And how sweet it was to remember that our fellow human beings are our safe places, not to be feared or held at a distance.
The whole experience happened in less than ten minutes, and then we whisked our way out the door to go find a lovely tea shop. We returned home with a few nice things, to include a lovely blouse just my color. Nothing, however, felt more fulfilling than that tiny whisk that had cost nothing more than offering my trust to a kind and open soul.
Join us for Cynthia’s upcoming series on Zoom!
This four-session course on Zoom will focus on
- ways to create a story mood,
- understanding how to use gesture,
- learning how to pace your story,
- working with different voice qualities,
- weaving in key phrases, musical moments and silence and
- other simple secrets that will awaken your inner storyteller.
Each class will be a LIVE Zoom call with Cynthia, and participants will have access to the recording (private link) for two weeks after the event in order to revisit the content.
No experience necessary.
Workshops will occur on the following dates from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Central Time:
Wednesdays, June 2, 9, 16, and 23.
Participants will receive a certificate of up to 6 hours (1.5 hours for each LIVE call they are present for.)
Click the link below for more details!