There are those moments in life when all the sudden you get a glimpse of the bigger picture. Where you see behind what’s right in front of your face, to something much larger. You know what I mean? Where you step outside of yourself and your life for long enough to see a different reality and perspective of it all. I had one of those moments at the market on Saturday. I guess I should back up, since it really started at Holiday Market. Bracken and I were in the food court. I was sitting in a chair and Bracken was sitting in my lap. We were eating our lunch together while we watched the music on the market stage. There was an older woman sitting next to us. She had a sparkle in her eyes and kept looking over at Bracken and smiling at him. Bracken would smile back and she would beam. The way she reacted when he smiled back at her seemed like she wasn’t very used to people smiling at her and was delighted by a little human kindness in her direction. I noticed, during a smile, that she was missing most of her teeth. I thought that she must have felt relieved by the lack of judgements young children have. I smiled at her, but I was a little more reserved than Bracken because I was in a crowded public place and naturally more protective than usual. If I remember correctly, Bracken offered her a bite of his lunch (he really enjoys sharing food.) She said something along the lines of “That looks yummy. I’m going to go find something yummy to eat.” She got up and then we got up to go back to our booth. As I walked, it suddenly dawned on me that she headed out the door where the garbage cans were located. I had assumed, when she said she was going to find something to eat, that she was going to walk over to one of the many food booths in the food court. Was she homeless and going to go find her lunch out of one of the garbage cans? I suddenly felt overwhelmed by an urge to go find her and give her some food. We walked back to where she had walked and looked all around, but she was nowhere in sight. When we went back to the booth, I mentioned the experience to Jeff. It had an impact on me at the time, and then I sort of forgot about it until Saturday. On Saturday, Bracken and I were over at the market stage listening to the wonderful marimba music of Kudana, when suddenly that same woman we had seen at Holiday Market, walked over to the music and started dancing. And boy, did she dance! You know the phrase “to dance like nobody’s watching?” Well, that sounds great and everything, but I’ve always been much too self conscious for that. But that woman, she danced like that. So carefree. She had a look on her face… like the pure radiant joy of a child. Something you so rarely see on the face of an adult. She was enjoying dancing so much, she seemed to be practically bursting with joy. Her face was filled with peace and seemed to glow. I couldn’t watch her for more than a few seconds because my eyes would fill with tears and I was afraid of them overflowing. I didn’t want to burst out crying in front of everyone, but I felt very close to doing just that, so I kept turning away. I felt like she was giving me a gift in that moment. But the gift was so big that I could hardly handle it. I thought ‘If that woman could be so incredibly filled with joy, even while living on the streets and eating out of a garbage can, then what about the rest of us? What excuses do we have to not be joyful? Why are we not bursting with pure joy? When we have roofs over our heads and food in our bellies? When so many of us are blessed with so much?’ It made me feel like so many things in my life that I worry about seemed silly in comparison. We worry about paying the bills, we stress about money, but we have a roof over our head and always manage to make ends meet. In that moment, I had my sweet son in my lap, my dear husband not far from us sitting in our market booth, music playing, and sun shining. We had seen friends that day. I thought of people I loved. I felt so grateful for so many things. To have a bit of land to plant a garden. For being able to buy some fresh vegetables at the farmer’s market that day. There was so much to be joyful about. But seeing that woman, I realized I didn’t need any reasons to be joyful, simply being alive was reason enough. I didn’t get up and dance like nobody was watching, but I did go home feeling very touched by her radiant spirit and thankful for the gift she gave me- a few moments of seeing the bigger picture.