I was nine years old. It was Sports Day in Springside Saskatchewan. Everyone in the known universe was there. I had six dimes in my Red Tag jeans–money my mother had given me to spend at my wild discretion. My favorite food group, Fudgsicles, were a convenient 10 cents.
I was savoring my first of the day when I noticed I was being watched. A boy, younger than me, bare feet, bad clothes, his body a smudge, his small face turned to me.
I walked over and gave him one of my dimes. He bought a Fudgsicle and came back and stood beside me. I gave him the rest of my dimes.
And we stood together behind the chicken-wire fence watching a ball game. Me, elated and no clue why without money to buy Fudgsicles. Him, grinning and dripping chocolate.
I know this kind of experience is not unique to me. I believe these small epiphanies are given to us as signs of what it is to be truly human.
I also know that I have betrayed this experience and its meaning a thousand times. I didn’t have to practice being self-absorbed, or secretly competitive, or discriminatory–that I picked up mimetically, naturally.
But our epiphanies, what ever they are, how ever small or subtle, are signs. They are our GPS’s giving us our life coordinates, leading us out of a self-referential slavery and into community.