Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TYLER'S TOUCH – A Child's Peaceful Presence

Last month, my wife and I attended a wonderful Christmas concert at a local church. It was nearly two hours of music, ranging from choral to hand bells to orchestral; from traditional Christmas fare to some gorgeous pieces we'd never heard.

Since my daughter-in-law was performing in the hand bell choir, we'd volunteered to take care of three-year-old Tyler during the concert.

I've never met a three-year-old who'd sit quietly through two hours of anything.

I've never met a three-year-old who'd sit quietly through two hours of anything. Still, Tyler was doing better than we'd expected, sitting in Grandma's lap, playing with his book and looking around at all the bright decorations. He was especially quiet when the brass section of the orchestra chimed in—seems he's transfixed by horns.

Then, about half-way through the program, it became clear we'd pushed his attention span to the limit—horns notwithstanding. I suppose if there had been other kids running up and down the aisles we wouldn't have reigned him in, but we decided his choice was between sitting more or less still, or heading out to the hall.

For the rest of the concert, he tested our resolve, squirming to get down, sometimes throwing his arms up and inadvertently slamming the book into Grandma's face.

It was as if an electric circuit had been broken.

After one such assault, I reached over and simply took firm hold of Tyler's hand. I expected a little struggle. Instead, it was as if an electric circuit had been broken. Right away, without even looking at me, he stopped squirming. All that impatience, all that energy, seemed suddenly channeled toward that little hand. I felt it and responded by relaxing my grip, resting my open hand, palm up, on my thigh.

Instead of pulling away, Tyler kept his hand where it was. For the next 20 minutes, he unconsciously explored the contours of my palm, thumb and each finger. His hand was warm and dry; it felt good in mine. I experienced a flow of something powerful through that curious touch, a sensation that simultaneously opened and centered me.

What was it about Tyler's touch that quieted both him and me so suddenly, so completely?

I knew I was connected with something pure and timeless. The slight anxiety I'd been feeling about his possibly disrupting the service just melted away. Now the music seemed to touch me more deeply than it had a few minutes before. The aura of strangers sitting nearby seemed to wrap snugly around us. I felt closer than ever to my wife.

I was calmly, silently happy.

What was it about Tyler's touch that quieted both him and me so suddenly, so completely? What was the unconscious message he spoke so softly, yet so articulately? I decided not to ruin its magic by asking.


Robin Easton said...

Dear Jeffrey, this is one of the most beautiful stories I've read. It moved me deeply. I think we all need to know and FEEL that we are connected.

This is a precious and intimate story that must be felt, and sure felt this one, brought tears to my eyes. So so lovely.

Thank you for sharing such deep and priceless beauty. You are an amazing soul. It made total sense to me that Tyler connected to you. Some connections just have no words; they run so deep.

What a gift you each gave the other. And what a gift you give us in the sharing of this.

Huge hugs,

Anonymous said...

The peaceful presence of a child coupled with the calming touch of a grandfather's love———wondrous touch surpasses a rebuke every time. Well done and from the heart! Thanks for sharing:):)

Jeffrey Willius said...

Dear Robin - You're such a welcome light in my day and in my life!

I'm glad my reflections touch you -- they can only do so in places sensitized by your own experience. And this humbles me, since your life experience, especially that in the rainforest so wonderfully related in your book, is stuff I can only imagine.

Thank you for your kind words, but above all for your loving presence!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Dear Anonymous -- Thanks for your appreciative comment. Sounds like you know quite well what I was talking about, am I right? ;-)

savvy said...

It's hard to find moments like this in life. Wonderful story.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hey there, Savvy -- You're so nice to take a look at my blog! I really appreciate it. Just checked out your latest post at Savvy Kenya and left a comment. Keep up the good work, my friend! Wouldn't it be great if we could meet when we're in your country?

Grace said...

I bet that moment was your favorite of the holiday season! A memory you likely won't forget:)

Marghnaita Hughes said...

Positively Glowing!!!!Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and heart warming story. It is that very connection that fills my heart making it sing, making my spirit dance and wanting to share the very essence of that interconnection, the love and sorrow that can be felt deep within each and everyone of us. You are such a gift Jeffrey, love and peace, Marghanita xx

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post:)!! When my nephew is with me I can always feel his amazing beautiful energy and when it is just he and I we spend most of our time in silence-coloring together silently but exchanging large amounts of beautiful peaceful energy:)!! This post makes me want to run out to go see him-and that is what I will do:)! Thank you for this beautiful post:)!!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hi Grace - That's right, I'll never forget it. I hope to mention it to Tyler one day when he's grown up.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hey Daisy -- Thanks for that nice compliment! I'm so glad you know that kind of silent communication with your nephew. Give his hand a squeeze for me ;-)

Jeffrey Willius said...

Oh Marghanita - I knew you'd appreciate this post. I can't think of anyone more in touch -- with kids and their amazing energy, with Nature, and with yourself and your own energy.
Thanks so much for your faithful friendship!

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