I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
~Edward Everett Hale
Just when you think you have it all figured out, the universe quietly offers reminders… do better.
A little over a month ago, I found myself doing the same thing I’m always doing at 7:30 AM, schlepping our teen to school. Like Groundhog Day or a trained pigeon, on auto pilot I go. Our drive is not long and is rather pretty. Min and I usually spend our time laughing at the radio, claiming bad 80’s songs as “our Jam”. We live in an area surrounded by amazing hills for hiking and sidewalks that are kept beautifully for all to enjoy a stroll. Many are out walking their dogs, heading out for a hike or just enjoying our weather. It’s refreshing to see so many people in the morning getting out and enjoying their day.
Off to the side up ahead, we could see a woman in her 80’s (guessing age here) sitting on the ground and a 40 something gentleman standing next to her with his dogs. My heart screamed, Uh Oh! She looked visibly upset. I’m ashamed to admit that I just kept driving. Oh yes, I was sending good thoughts to her as we went past but I was on a mission to get the kid to school on time. I had some errands to run and NEEDED coffee stat. She had someone there, it’s not my problem.
Do you think if I was struck down at that moment and floated up to those Pearlie gates, that needing coffee would be an excuse for my actions?
Some how I’m sure I’d be turned away and morphed into a cockroach on the spot.
Not much would be worse than living out my days as a roach, thanks.
I got all the way into the store, remembered that I forgot to bring my return and headed back home. AGGRIVATED and still coffee less.
Consumed with myself, I again saw the man and woman on the side of the road. Now he was sitting next to her with firm arms wrapped around her little body, her face buried in his chest. He looked like a giant holding a small child. My foot was already on the breaks and I was pulling off the road before I realised that the voice that just yelled STOP, was me.
I ran over to them. ” Are you hurt? Do you need a phone? A ride?” I asked.
The woman sobbed louder.
“Where do you live?” I questioned, thinking that home is always the place that makes things better for me.
He said, ” I don’t know. I just met her.”
BAM! Thanks universe! This man was just out walking his dogs, saw someone in need and didn’t stop for coffee. He’d easily had been with her for over 45 minutes… minutes out of HIS day. Everyday Angels do exist and I had the privilege to meet one, right here in Simi Valley.
I learned that she lost her husband of 58 years, weeks earlier. They walked every morning and every evening together. This was her moment of working through her loss and pain. Trying to find what gives her comfort now and how to continue to live. She went out for a walk for the first time and was TOTALLY overcome with emotions swirling up and trying to take her under. Taking her life back in baby steps. Brave! I call anyone brave that can look into the face of their pain and keep pushing back. You go girl!
It wasn’t a you go girl moment but a humbling reminder to invest in our loved ones with passion and like the Phoenix, we rise out of our challenges no matter how heartbreaking they are. I received and shared some warm memories and big hugs. When the tears ran dry, we learned that she lived just 1 block over from the gentleman. He promised to get her home safely and as we parted I could hear him telling her that he walks his dogs every morning and remembered seeing the sweet couple often. I drove a few blocks, pulled over again and sobbed. I cried for her loss, for my mother’s loss of my dad and because when I even think of being parted from my Prince, it takes me out at the knees.
Life went on and I thought of her often. Wishing her peace in her heart and strength to continue.
Last week, again this big old boob had to pull the car to the side and shed a tear. This time, the tears were of relief and joy.
Driving to school in the morning, along side the road were some familiar faces, this time they were smiling and waving hello to us. There was the sweet little lady, the gentleman and his dogs all out for a morning stroll together. I saw them every morning last week, together, walking, talking and sharing a friendship.
This morning they were by the stop sign when we pulled up so I rolled down the window to chat.
“How ya doing? You look great!” I said.
“Oh I’m good. I’m really doing well. Thank you. We’re walking everyday!” she proudly reported.
She looked younger, lighter and happy. He seemed to be enjoying himself too and of course the dogs are always thrilled to be out.
I witnessed first hand how moments of overwhelming grief and sorrow, can be places where we meet people and build bridges of caring and love that strengthen us and give us the courage to continue. Who’s to say that they would have never met otherwise but I do know that his act of caring was the catalyst of change for one soul. Meant to be or not, we make the choices that result in our actions. Will you be a roach with me or are you going to waltz through the gates with the gentleman and take your place amongst the angels?
When I feel a lack or a weak spot in my armor, I judge to make myself feel better. Which only makes me feel worse. Why are all these fingers pointing back at me?! He could have judged and walked on. Instead he opened his heart and received as many gifts as his actions gave. We can’t fill a jar with the lid tightly on. It has to be opened to filled. If we guard our hearts like The Royal Palace, we wont have anything left to give nor can we refill. Of course we need to set boundaries and stand up for ourselves as well. No doormats here! To live and share this life, we need to understand how much we all do need each other to survive, get by and have a great time!
Sometimes I mentally list all the wonderful things I do to contribute. Sometimes I shamefully boast to my Prince of things I planned or how I did this that ended up doing such great things for so in so. Then I catch myself, prideful. It’s one thing to take pride in something but it’s another to give of yourself and expect rewards. If I need to make lists and take stock of what I can give, then I best be making another list all together. The ‘where am I personally lacking’ list. What is deficient in me that needs some love and attention. It’s awesome to volunteer or be of service but what you can give is a part of you not something that needs be broadcast on the evening news. Pay it forward because you never know when you’ll meet a friend you really need.
Quiet reminders from the universe… DO BETTER.
Sometimes better can come in a phone call, email or a ding dong ditch plate of cookies on the porch of someone who could use a lift. Maybe it’ll be something small and quiet. Maybe it’ll be a big moment. Better, changes and can be interpreted in many ways to fit who you are. Rise up, be an active participant in today and be the change you wish to see in your world.
I’m going to work on my cockroach status and NEXT time the universe offers an opportunity, I’ll be amongst the angels too!
Hands off the bug spray until I do!
**Update: On 9/22/13 the woman went to sleep and quietly passed away. The gentleman had walked with her just the day before. While we are sad that she will no longer be a part of our days, we know that she longed to be with her beloved husband and one of their sons once more. The angels just scored one amazing lady that will be missed. The gentleman says that her friendship saved his life. I think that maybe she was an angel all along and just had to stay behind a little longer to teach us a thing or two. She will be missed greatly.