I stepped into the elevator to the bright eyes of a ten-year-old boy. He was in his school uniform, carrying a small bag. As I caught his gaze in the elevator mirror, I realized I was an object of wonder or admiration. Going bold, I turned and started a conversation.
“How are you doing today?”
“Really? What happening?”
“I am getting ready for a musical concert tomorrow afternoon.”
“That sounds really neat. What are you playing?”
“The theme to the Lion King.”
Say what? I wanted to know what instrument he was playing. Which part of my question was confusing?
“Cool. I love the Lion King and the music that goes with it. Good luck!”
“Thanks, it will be fun!”
Sometimes language gets the best of me. I am learning to go with it, knowing that a greater story often emerges with patient listening. I walked out of the elevator excited about life because he was excited. I still did not know what instrument he played. Whatever it was, the thought of his face when he was done has stayed with me since. My mind never sees exactly what he is playing. I have shut my eyes and am flowing with the rhythm of the music and the story it tells. I open them to see his bright smile and sparkling eyes. I am clapping with the audience, enjoying the sense of hope that has yet again wrapped itself around me.
I am reminded again that I am more like the kid than I realize. I am so focused on what is coming next that I hear the voice of others in the context of my attention. I get it while I don’t. I am not the first to talk about what I do not fully understand. A voice from the past sounds like an echo of mine today; “let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15.51)
Life’s language is mysteriously hope filled.