For the past 11 months I’ve been going to the same gym at the same time 4 days a week. Each morning I do the same workout routine with the same workout partner and see the same people in the gym. There are about 6 other people who are on the same gym schedule – which means I’ve seen each of them on about 180 occasions (~45 weeks, 4 days a week). Up until 2 weeks ago, I haven’t spoken more than a few words to any of them – there have been times when I’ve chirped back and forth about sports or weather with one or two of them, but certainly nothing substantive.
Two weeks ago that all changed.
I was sitting in the sauna with my workout buddy and a burly man with a large Minnesota Vikings tattoo on his right shoulder. Out of nowhere, the burly man launched into an energetic story about a cruise he took recently to the Caribbean – and particularly about learning to SCUBA dive. As we sat there sweating, he took us through a 15 minute rendition of his story explaining to us step by step how SCUBA diving works and all the fish he was able to see. The entire time he was speaking, his eyes were shining with unbridled joy – he loved telling us this story. Sharing this experience was so compelling – the feeling of joy so powerful – that it compelled this otherwise quiet man to share a story with strangers, who he’d seen on 180 previous occasions without saying anything.
The joy in this large man’s eyes was so intense – I could not bear to interrupt him to tell him that I’d overheard him telling the same story just a moment earlier in the locker room – or that I’d been certified to SCUBA dive since I was 16.