I missed the love.

On my walk after my early morning cycling class, I pass a parking garage where a poster of one of those love sculptures hangs, the famous one with the word “love” written in a square.  It’s been on stamps and postcards and just about everything you can imagine.  Every time I walk by the garage, I acknowledge the poster, and it feels almost as if we nod to each other in conversation.

“Oh yes, there it is.  There is the love,” I say.

“You thought you forgot, but it’s right here,” it says to me.

This morning it was cold and I was wearing my funky hat that isn’t tightly knit, so when it’s cold and breezy like it was today, it feels like gaping air pockets are funneling the icy cold into my brain.  As I was walking, I was very much in my head, beating myself up about how I wore the wrong hat and why did decide to clean out my handbag—which is always overflowing with just-in-case things—and take the other hat out just before I left the apartment?

And then I heard someone say, “Good morning”, right next to where the sign was, but I was so in my head that I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or not.  As I walked by, fully immersed in the world in my head, and heard this person murmur kind words to me, I started to wonder if I was rude because I didn’t acknowledge the kind stranger or if I was justified because he was a creepy stranger and I was just being rude in that way that you sometimes have to be when you live in New York City.

Either way, I unintentionally ignored his wish for a good morning.  It occurred to me that his wish was a nudge to remember the poster ritual.

And in a flash I was out of the world of worry about the cold and my hat and beating myself up and into a more present one.  As I walked by I felt disappointed and thought, I missed it.

I missed the love.

I do this sometimes, miss those small moments of love that I don’t recognize while I’m in the moment. I get so focused on living in my head, wondering if my hair looks crazy or if I said something dumb or if I laughed too loudly.  Only later do I remember the look in someone’s eye as I spoke to them or the hand over their heart that I didn’t acknowledge or some sweet sentiment that I talked over.

When I was in class this morning, our stupendous instructor Emily walked around the room, speaking her inspirational words as she does, spreading her infectiously beautiful energy.  The bikes are placed close together, so she typically only walks around the front of the class.  This morning, she got off her bike and did her usual jaunt, but this time she made her way to the back row, where I always select my bike.  She stood next to me and cheered me on, “You’re doing great – you look good!”  I smiled at her as I did my choreography on the bike, more of a dance than a spin.

“It feels good to feel good, doesn’t it?” She placed her hand on top of mine, a kind, warm loving touch at 6:30 in the morning.

As I continued on my walk lamenting the missed moment of love, I thought of these moments with instructor Emily at the crack of dawn.  It made me smile.

Happy to have been present for that grace, I then looked up, and saw that I was being welcomed by the morning with the most luminous sunrise.

Moments of grace are just waiting for us to be present to them.