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.
I caught myself off guard this afternoon.
It was lovely.
I stretched in my office chair and my mind emptied – I was suddenly only aware of my flesh and bones and the soul within me wanting to be fed.
In that single stretch – I was not thinking of worldly ‘things’ I had to do – thoughts I had to have, or needs yet to be met.
My body sung in my stretched position and I felt absolutely, deliciously, human.
Every inch of me exhaled in a glorious release of tension.
I was Amanda.
I found her.
I was wide awake spiritually and in that brief moment, so very aware.
Aware of my body – my heartbeat and breath, and urgently aware that time slips by too quickly.
As I returned from the stretch, I brought with me the short and important list of things my soul wants to experience.
And nothing, nothing at all was more important. And time is of the essence.
I was given this today.
All in one single stretch.
I follow an amazing blog written by a friend I used to go to High School with. You can find it on the right under Blogs I follow – Everyday Asperger’s.
I’m also friends with Sam on Facebook and she had posted a video of her reading a poem today. My favorite part (other than the amazing poem) was at the beginning, she was a little self-conscious on camera and said ‘I hate my mouth’ immediately followed with affirmations to put herself into a positive place, ‘I love my mouth, I love my mouth’.
This lady inspires me. She moves me. She exudes love and light. She is someone I would put on a list of personal heroes should I ever be called to write such a list.
Sam was (and still is) gorgeous, warm, funny, bright, generous and so very sweet. She was the popular girl without the attitude. The cheerleader who really had spirit. (‘She had spirit, how ’bout you?!’ sorry – couldn’t resist LOL!) And man, could she nail her straight arms and lines – I was on the Varsity cheer squad and she was a Song Leader (I believe that’s right? It’s been so long.). Sam was kind to everybody. You could look at her on the outside and never for one second believe that she ever experienced adversity or sorrow, ever struggled nor knew pain. Sam exuded joy.
If we had never reconnected, I would never have had the chance to tell her this. But I am blessed to have had the opportunity.
You know that email that floats around – it’s something along the lines of (and I’m SO paraphrasing here) ‘there’s at least one person that thinks of you that you’ll never know about, one person that loves you, one person … etc.’ I’m so blowing it, but I hope you get the point.
Sam was someone who crossed my mind occasionally, she made that much of an impression on me. And she would never have known that had we not reconnected.
I digress. Without further ado, here’s her poem, re-printed with her permission. This brought tears to my eyes, more so after an especially sweet compliment about my spirit from someone I look up to on my spiritual journey. My friend, Samantha Craft.
“Dear Soul of Mine ~
I love you. I see you. I hear you. I believe you. I believe in your experience and perception. I believe in your efforts and hopes. I know you. And I adore you. There is nothing you can do or say that will change this. I have the potential to love you in all seasons, through storms and through merriment. I will not leave your side, nor your heart. I am you. You are beautiful. And because you are so beautiful, a spring of fresh light and goodness, I shall always love you. There is only pureness in you. I choose this. I choose to see the glorious child you are. I see through that which is not you. I see into your true form, and this makes me weep with joy. How lovely you are, in all your seasons, in all your ways. How perfectly lovely, my adored one.”