One Saturday morning in an aerobics class at the Y, a cute little girl dressed in her ballerina dress watched mesmerized in the doorway. She was waiting with her parents to register for kids’ ballet class next door. She stood there gazing for a few minutes while eating her breakfast snack. Then she ran around dancing while she watched.
Realize that most of the people in my aerobics class are middle-aged folk like me, including our instructor. Maybe watching our class was a site totally amazing to behold? No, are you kidding?
After ballerina girl left, another pretty brown-haired girl wearing her black and white leopard jacket watched the class. While staring, she sat down in the same doorway. She watched for about 15 minutes before her parents came to get her. She smiled brightly in her continuous gaze.
No, watching a bunch of middle-aged folks exercising isn’t at all captivating, not for me, either. However, those kids had never seen that before. Children discover the wonder of everything. They authentically create wonder in their experience of the world. For children, the world is constantly a new, grand adventure.
Perhaps, being all grown up—even middle-aged, as I am—we all become so jaded. “Been there, done that,” and, “I know better.” We’re always looking for the next thing that gives joy, makes us happy instead of discovering joy in the present.
When we were kids, we didn’t look for happy; happy discovered us. As children, we instinctively created that wonder of the world at large. Everything was cool just because. We danced around and skipped for no reason at all. We had no expectations because we had no idea what they were.
I experienced that kind of child-like sense of wonder, going on my very first Match dot com date with Jacqui. After trading messages for a couple weeks, I was so excited and a little scared to meet her. What if she didn’t like me in person? I soon got passed that and asked her out on a date.
Jacqui wasn’t a movie person like me, but then again who is? We saw “Wonder Woman” together, which I had seen. “Wonder Woman” was my favorite summer movie, so I thought she might like it. Surprisingly, she loved the movie.
After the movie, we had a great conversation over a nice dinner. She shared her past sadness and suffering in her previous marriage. She fondly shared about her beloved parents from Korea. She spoke of the missionary work she hoped to do.
When she asked about me why I was on Match dot com, I told her that I had nearly given up finding someone. I said, “Then I got to meet you.” That wasn’t a line, at all. Besides, I really don’t know how to deliver one. She smiled. She told me about her favorite sushi place and her love of yoga. I told her about being Aikido Sensei.
I didn’t see Jacqui after our first date. She was looking for someone else. Yet, while spending time with her, I recreated my childhood wonder. Jacqui was pretty, so very smart, and unintentionally funny. Most of all: I wouldn’t ever get tired of looking at her. I saw her kindness and grace within. I truly hope that she discovers what she is looking for and I hope there’s a next time for me with someone else. I just never know. Anything is possible.
Although I didn’t see Jacqui again, I’m grateful to her for helping me to recreate my child-like sense of wonder that I thought had long since passed.
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