Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a reception at which local heroes were being honored. People who have gone out of their way to save, or significantly improve, the lives of others. One of those honored was a woman named Jeannine who had stopped another woman from taking her own life. It wasn’t like the movies. She didn’t simply “talk her off the ledge.” She had to physically fight this woman to let her save her life.
I was in and out of the reception because I had business to do so I wasn’t able to schmooze as I’d hoped. I went back in just as Jeannine was making her way out. She stopped at the group of people I was with and was gushing about the woman she’d been sitting next to during the program. She too was a local hero being recognized for decades of service to her community. Jeannine teared up and said “I met the most amazing woman, this was such a special night, but…now what?” My colleagues showered her with compliments telling her that SHE was amazing and that SHE should be very proud of herself. She agreed, thanked them for the compliments, but then said again “yes…but…now what?!” She looked puzzled and a little lost.
It’s interesting…for all of the over-communicating I do in this blog, or with my friends, or with my husband…when I’m surrounded by colleagues or strangers I’m often quiet. I like to listen, take it all in, and assess the situation. When Jeannine asked the question again, and my colleagues were about to once again jump in with compliments for her, I stopped them and said “now a seed has been planted in your head. And you may feel like you need to do more, or do something, but someday it will make perfect sense as to why you were sitting next to her tonight and learned her story. Maybe next week, maybe three months from now, or maybe five years from now. You met her for a reason and you will understand why at some point.”
She turned to me and said “you’re right. You’re totally right. Thank you.” Her smile returned and we chatted briefly before saying goodbye.
It’s not like me to offer my personal opinion or insight in a work setting. I keep my colleagues at arm’s length. Especially recently, when I’ve found myself dissatisfied with my work, I’ve kept my thoughts, opinions, and personal life far away from the office. But for some reason tonight, Jeannine’s momentary concern over what to possibly do next now that she had met someone so remarkable, I had to offer comfort because I know what that’s like.
Sometimes I’ll meet someone, or have an experience, and I am left with more questions than answers. I hate that. As I’ve likely mentioned four million times, I like everything well planned, well thought out, and tied up with a bow. I’m not a fan of loose ends, changes in plans, or unanswered questions. When Jeannine was vulnerable and asked a group of strangers “now what?” I felt like I had to give her something.
I told you that I recently saw a psychic. Our meeting was lovely, but when I left I felt a little lost. She had brought up a whole lot of questions that subsequently swirled through my mind at warp speed with no obvious answers. It was unsettling. As time has passed, however, many of those questions have been answered. In addition, they’ve allowed me to look at some aspects of my life a little bit differently than I did before.
So I guess the trick is to keep our heads and hearts open to new experiences, questions, and people knowing that we may not understand at first why they have been brought into our lives. And yet, we can surely know that it’s for a reason.
Also, I think it’s good to point out that even if you have the courage to jump into a lake to save someone’s life (who doesn’t want to be saved) you can still be in awe of another human being who has given great service to their community. No matter the successes we enjoy, the great things that we do, the phenomenal people that we believe ourselves to be, we should also always remain open to being inspired by someone else.
TODAY: What if I remember to keep my heart and mind open to experiences, people, questions, ideas, and opportunities? What if even when I don’t understand why things are happening or how to process particular information I can maintain faith that it will be clear to me someday?