On my drive home today, I saw an elderly person weeding their front yard.
I was reminded of something that had a profound effect on me almost four years ago.
It was a time when it was imperative I get out of self. That I reach out and be of service to others.
Summer in the desert, and I noticed an old woman on my street tending to her weeds. It was hot. In the mid 120’s.
I parked, set my belongings inside and walked up the street to her house and called out.
She didn’t hear me.
She looked up from her crouched position, and from under her sun hat met my gaze.
I was eager and just knew that she would think I was wonderful.
“May I help you weed your yard?”
I waited a beat – smile on my face.
“No thank you.” She said, with a peaceful smile on her own face.
I wasn’t expecting that.
I gauged her expression a moment to be sure she really didn’t want my help … bid her a good day and went home.
It hadn’t dawned on me for even a second, that perhaps she was content in her task.
That perhaps she enjoyed what she was doing.
Or that she knew how much more satisfied she would be when the sun went down, looking out at her weed-free yard, that she had done the work.
I have never forgotten her or that moment.
It was an epiphany of sorts for me.
I’ve heard people speak of what they would do if they won the lottery:
“I’d give some to my family and friends.”
“I’d buy my children houses.”
“I’d find needy people and help them.”
Such a noble and selfless intention – yet …
Don’t we have to be careful who we help and how?
Am I doing it for them or me?
Am I helping? Hindering? Enabling?
Are they making an effort to help themselves? Still have lessons to learn to strengthen them for hard times yet to come?
This comes to mind:
I personally think life IS always beautiful, (maybe not always what you want it to be, but still beautiful) but I agree with the rest.
Struggles do make you stronger. And grateful.
If you just hand someone a house – are they going to cherish it? Will it mean as much to them as it would to someone who saved for years to buy one?
Hand-ups and hand-outs have such a fine dividing line!
It’s hard to know who to help.
Harder still when you don’t know if they’ve struggled – if they are too fragile to have to struggle – if they’ve been put in your path to bestow a blessing on?
Personally, I can look back and I know without doubt, that I am grateful for my struggles.
I’ve been VERY prideful. And I’m trying to get over that and accept help when it makes sense. When the help doesn’t rob me of my spiritual and emotional growth.
Because, my life has blossomed from the weeds.
And I see weeds as blossoms.
Beauty in every thing, every person and every moment.
I’ve learned to focus on these things.
Stay in those moments – no matter how fleeting – to feel them and move forward with a positive attitude and an open mind and heart.
I look upon life with grateful eyes – a students mind and a peaceful heart.
And I’m so glad I struggled.
And I so love those who helped me along the way – and I love those who did not.