There is a popular book about people you will meet in heaven. There are many times in my life when I wonder if “This” IS heaven, and we are wasting effort looking to a future that is now. From that idea came this list of people I met in 2007:
There was the couple in Buffalo who had moved from NE, who were very neighborly and friendly. From the woman I was reminded to open my heart to people’s good motives instead of their bad.
From the frail elderly male patient who was an absolute curmudgeon because he thought the Great Implosion was near and he was glad he would die before it happened. At the same time he wanted a woman president because “it takes a heart to stop a war”. Also, even though the world was going down the drain, he felt he had lived a good life because he had worked hard, raised 4 children who grew up to marry good people, and were raising good children of their own. Which is how change can be made in the world. From him I received a lesson in passion and hope.
From the 92 year young woman who had thrown the marriage license out the car window after going to the courthouse because she had doubts, and went on 67 years actively married to the chap, I learned about persistence and humour.
From a co-worker who was battling a terrible disease and narrowed down what was important to him, consequently providing peace and strength, I took away a sense of perspective.
From the internet blogger who was buffeted by triple tornadoes of a ruptured brain aneurysm, a mother unable to care for herself, and downsizing just as she was faced with 2 houses in a soft market (Mom’s and her own) I gained both a demonstration of intestinal fortitude and permission to eat ice cream for dinner.
From the assignment that gave me literal nightmares I learned a complex lesson in Selflessness, Selfishness, and Self Centeredness. There were two beautiful examples of women who would work until they dropped, help you with anything, and strived to act with integrity whether they liked you or not. There was one who did everything she could to get all that she could, even if she had to stab you to do it. Alternatively, there was one who did what she could to get out of things, but from a sense how things revolved around her not from a hardened heart. And many examples of the takers being rewarded from above while the givers were criticized and written up. From this group I learned which category I am, by discovering that I was willing to do anything to help those who would help me and didn’t give two figs about those who wouldn’t.
From the 37 year old child who attracted crap into her life and yet slid out of situations like a charmed devil I learned to forgive myself for mistakes I made when I was young and immature; and to be profoundly grateful that I outgrew that period of my life. I also felt pity for those people who lived and worked with me then. Yikes!
From a Shabbot Service I experienced a glimpse of inner peace. A moment where I felt with a certainty that had I died on the way home I could have let go of life. Not that I’m in a hurry.
From TAO I received demonstrations in patience, love, and being known better than my own eyes can see. And the gift of a future filled with laughter and hope.