When I ask you to pay attention to the route we were taking on our trip to the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando it was not simply to learn where we were going, it was more than that. It was to be awake to what is happening in your life when it is happening. Take advantage of the moments where life is teaching you a lesson.
Life doesn’t always have lessons for you. Some moments are truly there just for the moment. That moment my come with laughter, joy, pain, love, first love, old love. The list goes on.
Right now I am just talking about being in the moment where life is presenting you with an opportunity to move forward in love.
I am also talking about life presenting you with an easy lesson. Like for instance your mom learning an easy way to get somewhere near the college you are going to but if you don’t pay attention you might end up getting lost and having to find your own way.
All this while you are in the same car with her and she tries to explain to you what just happened but you say “Don’t try to tell me because I will not remember any of it.” and I say, “But if you would just try to listen, the next time you hear it, it will be that much easier to understand.”
This is the tug of war that goes on between most children and their parents.
When will children learn life could be easier if they would just pay attention and when will adults learn their kids need to learn it in their own time in their own way.
But for now we will go forward with the message of moving-forward-in-love thing.
Story number 1
Getting lost on my way to Orlando today, I went in the gas station to buy a new Florida map. Mine dated back in the 80’s. I knew I was also going to ask for directions from whomever was working.
Two women were working. On first appearance, life did not look like it had swung many dollars their way. They were southern women who had probably lived many a years working long hours and minimum wage. Exercise and diet were not a high priority nor was dental.
“Hi, My map is pretty old so I want to buy this map but could you also tell me how to get to I-4,” pointing on the new map I also ask, “Is this toll road around Orlando better than going thru the center?”
The woman behind the counter, looking befuddled, calls the other women over, “Sandy, you want to help her, your much better with directions.”
A woman comes over. Her hair has soft brown curls. It sounds lovely to have soft brown curls and it really was her finer feature. When she spoke you could see many teeth were pulled most likely because she couldn’t afford crowns. Her cheeks were worn before her time. But there was such a softness to her whole being as she spoke “I don’t really know Orlando very well, I haven’t been there much times at all. But I do know a good way to get to I-4.”
She proceeds to tell me this really simple way, “You turn left at the first light, go right at the next light then go two lights up to 540 and turn left. It takes you to Orlando toll Parkway. Follow that and it dead ends into I-4. Once you get to Orlando I think that Toll Road is the best way. Just look for the sign that says toll, thats what I would do.”
Before going into the gas station I was in my car looking at three different maps and not really knowing which path to follow as my choices were many. What this women said was not even one of the choices I had noticed. I did not even give it a second thought, I was going to trust this women’s wisdom and follow her directions.
I went back to the car and said lets go.
Juma said, “What if she sends us on the back roads out in the middle of nowhere and someone jumps us.” Juma over-thinks most things and leans toward the not-trusting side. This can balance my over-trusting side. It did cause me to rethink which way to go but only for a split second.
“We’ll be fine.” I followed her directions, which I must say made me second guess myself when I drove a bit longer than I thought, in the middle of nowhere, looking for the the second light on 540. All said and done, it did put me on I-4 easily. I was happy, but more than that I got to interact, connect if you will, with these two beautiful women who were so genuinely helpful and seemed so happy to help. There is such a love connection ready to be had at such random places. If I had lots of time with these women I probably would not like every view point they had. I may not like there politics, there view on the government, how they treat there kin folks, who knows.
The point is: who cares.
Do all those little life grievances even matter in the end?
I would seriously say that I believe every human being on earth has something to love.
I believe you could look at anyone and find some love connect.
I know that is really pushing it when you think of a serial killer or anyone that has killed or purposely hurt someone.
The part of that person that has hurt something or someone is not the part I could look at and love. I don’t believe you need to love that part. But I believe that person has a part that can be loved.
These moments of connecting with people happen to me all the time.
Story number 2
Later that night I drove to a random hotel to see if they had any rooms. I know, I know, it is so much easier to book a hotel before you arrive 8:30 at night in a town that you have never been to on your own. I would have to say the reason I didn’t book ahead is because I wasn’t sure of the area. I rethought that whole wait-to-see-the-area thing once I got to the hotel and they didn’t have any rooms and told me they didn’t think anyone in the area did because it was a crazy weekend. It was then that I realized I could of went to hotel.com and typed in Orlando then typed in UCF and wha-la, hotels appear in that area.
Really, when I take the time to think about this, I know all this. It is simple internet common sense, which I actually have.
Why did I put this off? My only answer is that I tend to put all things off when I think I can get away with it. This time I was almost proved wrong.
Sitting in the hotel lobby that had no rooms, I googled Hotel.com. The page for the UCF area said no hotels available. Panicking, I called their 800 number. The lady on the other end of my cell phone said she had two possible choices; the Hampton and La Quinta. I pay with a credit card over the phone. Taking my reservation number with me, I drive two blocks to our secure, one night home.
After waiting in line about two people-worth which in hotel time can be two seconds or ten minutes, mine being the latter-I happily announce I am here for the Williamson reservation.
The front desk women clerk keeps her eyes on her computer and repeats, “Williamson, Bonnie?”
“Yes that’s me.” I smile when she finally looks up.
She smiles back and say’s, “I’m sorry but we only have a smoking room and it’s out of commission.”
I pause to process this and she proceeds, “I’m sorry but I can get you a room at another hotel and we will cover the cost.”
I still pause to process this and when it catches up to me I slowly say, “OK”
There is a women that was in line before me still waiting at the counter. She also had a reservation here but no room so they proceed to give her the hotel that was my other option when I was on the phone to hotel.com. I find out this was that hotels last room.
Three separate women come in at three separate times, each with a little girl that looked as if she was woken in the car to come into the hotel.
I kid you not. Really! Three totally unrelated people, women, with a little girl all between the age of five to seven, arrive in that fifteen minutes. Each time they would come in I would stand back so they could get their room. I didn’t want to torture these little ones anymore than they already were with their sleepy little faces quietly frowning as their hands were clutching their mothers. “Do you want to sit down?” each mother would say.
Each child would say “No.” as they slide closer to their mothers leg.
“I will just sit at the table over there and wait, I know you will let me know when you get through.” the hotel women smiled and said thanks for being so patient.
I felt happy even as I wondered were I was sleeping tonight. I really felt something would work out even though the front dest women’s voice seemed to be getting louder each time she would call another hotel, “Hi, this is Ellen from La Quinta on Research Blvd. Do you have any rooms available? OK. Thank you anyway.” Each time she tried another number she would recite these words faster and louder.
Finally, after about 10 attempts, she changed her response from a soft “Thank you anyway” to a loud “Really, That would be great!”
Once again I connected to a women whom I had never met before. We took a moment that could of been stressful and changed it to a moment of joy. I felt grateful to have that moment with her.
I wish all days were like this.
They are not.
Some days I feel angry for no reason at all.
I know there is no reason I am angry.
I feel claustophobic of those around me and I get angry with them but really I know they are not doing anything to me to truly be angry about. I let them know I am not really angry with them, that I just feel angry and it has nothing to do with them. I am grateful that I can recognize this and let them know. Sometimes I feel I hurt their feelings before I can let them know and I feel bad about this.
I wish people would recognize that when people get angry at them it is really not about them at all. It is a feeling inside the angry person that comes out and is just directed at them.
I am glad my angry days do not outweigh my love days.
I know every moment can bring new challenges.
I say bring it on.
I will keep on keeping on.
I will resolve to quickly move out of the angry days.
I will joyfully smile and give thanks for the love days.