The shop has only been open for a few weeks now and I marvel at the ways of humanity witnessed in this art and chocolate shop. There is great joy in seeing the smiles on faces of those who have just sampled delicious chocolate...free samples! Giving a sweet taste for free brings comfort to both the recipient and the giver. Probably the best part of the job so far.
“Free” is not something experienced on a regular basis in the world of commerce. When free is offered in chocolate form, and it IS offered as a whole piece of chocolate, not a tiny sliver, shoulders seem to relax, eyes twinkle with the hand offering the gift to the open hand of the receiver. Why do I find this fascinating? Because it matters. It truly matters to give and to receive a “gift”, even if that gift is a sample of chocolate.
Sometimes that is all that happens, a free gift is given, tasted and experienced, and then the person leaves the shop. And it is fine, because we give the chocolate not only in hopes of convincing taste buds that this chocolate is worthy to purchase, but because we can brighten someone’s day with a sweet sampling.
In the midst of this seeming ordinary transition, the extraordinary happens. Where a conversation with a Brazilian man turns into a joyous interaction about food and travel. Or when a young man and woman enter the shop and conversations flow with great ease about art, animals, chocolate and a connection is made. When this young man brings a free order of your favorite frites from the restaurant across the street simply because he knows you like them, the extraordinary kindness renders you undone and unable to speak because you are holding back tears. This giving and receiving of gifts, chocolate, frites, conversation, listening, bring joy and life into our days. They remind us of the gift of one another. The reality that we all breathe the same air, that we need each other to sweeten and brighten, and to lighten our loads.