Occasionally I read through some of my old material written for my blog the Transformational Times. I recently stumbled across this one which reminded of the importance of each and every person whose life intersects with ours. Not everyone we meet is meant to be in our lives for a long time, some only minutes, but each has an effect on us. The following is a piece I wrote about two short encounters I had with people and the effect they had on me. I hope you enjoy meeting these folks as much as I did.
(Story modified from the Transformational Times, June 2, 2007)
People talk to me. They tell me their stories as though something about me invites them to talk. Whatever the reason for their trust in me, I feel honored to be the recipient of their stories. Each time this happens, I am left with a sense that I have either met up with an old friend or just made a new one. I hope they feel the same way about meeting me. For instance, this morning I got out of bed, threw on my walking clothes, hitched the dog to his leash, put on my sunglasses (despite the fact that it was raining), and began walking up the hill. After just a few steps, I was greeted by my neighbor’s brother who occasionally visits Maine in the summer months. I met him briefly once last year, so I said hello and re-introduced myself. My dog didn’t take to him so well and started barking viciously. He crouched down to make friends with Max and then stood up and asked, “How long have you lived in this neighborhood”?
“Fifteen years, this year,” I replied.
“When I moved to this town back in 1962, there was a girl that lived near here and I thought she was the prettiest thing alive.” He continued, “I was so shy I couldn’t talk to her, even though we walked to the bus stop down the end of the road for three years together. I was never able to talk to her, not even once. He paused for a moment as a wistful look came over his face, “I’ve always wondered what became of her. We are having a class reunion soon and I’d love to find out how she is.” He started walking then stopped and continued to talk. “I didn’t stop being shy until I was 33 years old.” I saw regret on his face, like he had lost time and it could never be regained. I felt his sadness. He went on to explain that the two houses next to mine weren’t there back then and about how much the neighborhood had changed. After a few minutes we said good-bye and I headed up the hill. His story gave me a glimmer into his past and I had this strange feeling that I was there to here it for a reason. I never saw him again.
The next story begins while I was sitting in the waiting room at a small hospital where I was seated next to an elderly woman who was next in line for a CT scan. I listened as the woman talked with the nurse’s aid. The nurse was commenting on the beautiful curls that she had. The woman told the nurse that her hair grew back curly after she had gone through chemotherapy. When the nurse left the room, the woman continued talking with me. She told me how devastating it felt to lose all her hair. She said that she once wore a wig to hide her bald head, but after a while, found it too hot and uncomfortable and decided to go without it. She described her hair at that time as similar to that of a man who had his head shaved for the army, short and stubbly. She told me that going without the wig felt liberating. After chemo ended, her hair which had always been straight, came back curly. Her doctor told her it would not last. Eventually, the straight hair returned to all but her bangs which retained the prettiest curl that perfectly framed her face. I left the room for a minute and when I returned, she was gone. Even though our worlds had crossed for only a short while, I felt as though the time held some meaning, as if we were old friends from another time and she had stopped by to say hello.
Think about a time when your life has intersected with another person’s, even if only for a moment. How did that interaction affect you? I have read that there is no such thing as coincidence and I believe that each time we connect with someone, it is for a reason. Remember to be thankful to every one who has trusted to share their stories with you.
Yours in transformation,