BEAUTIFUL BROKEN DOWN CAR

Other

On my drive to class this morning, I started thinking about a past employee who worked for me when I was the manager of a restaurant and bar for  eight+ years! She was a groovy hipster chic who looked as if she were bouncing state to state throughout the US without any predetermined destination or route, without assurances or comforts at her next stops, & without conforming to what others might find acceptable along the way; she had dreads, smelled of patchouli, and wore eclectic jewelry that most would throw together, but I have the feeling, that each piece had a particular story and meaning for her! She was the kind of person who walked with an hora of positive energy surrounding her; I remember thinking that she was so unique that her beauty shown from the inside out! The first day that she had a day shift with me, we arrived to work around the same time, and I totally judged her.  I looked at her and wondered why a girl in her early 30s had made such bad decision throughout her life to obtain such a crappy car! It had been raining that morning, and it was clear that she had to accommodate by putting plastic bags in her windows, and now she was standing in the parking lot trying to pry the glass of her window upwards just to hold a towel up so that rain wouldn't penetrate any further. I wondered why someone who seemed so beautiful, articulate, worldly, and positive had a car that looked hardly fit for a teenager! I wondered what decisions had led her to where and who she was today. So,  I made it my mission that day to ask her about her life instead of just automatically judging her; I do try to have an open mind and heart with every circumstance, but my eyes have seen so much bad in the world that sometimes it is hard to think positively. I always hate when I have these negative prearranged thoughts in my brain just because of a simple factor or observation by reminding myself that "you can't always judge a book by its cover." Later that day, when I had some time away from my work, I went out to speak to her and learn about her, and get to know her. As we started talking, so grew to love her more and more. She had driven here on a whim because she'd always wanted to live near the beach; she was following her heart. I have always thought that being on the road free from any ties was such a beautiful thing, and I was always wanted to just jump in the car and wander, but I never had the guts. As I talked about myself to her and listened to her stories, she became quite comfortable with me and excited to share that she had spent the last couple of years with her sister who had down syndrome, and she took care of her until her last day--said it was the best decision she'd ever made getting to spend that time with her sister. She talked about the beauty in her sister's heart: her positive outlook on life and her childlike perfection of the way she viewed everything. I still get choked up just telling the story, because of how beautiful it is, and how fortunate I was to meet this young woman. I aspire to have this heart; to give without expectation of receipt, to love unconditionally, to give up all material possessions for love and harmony, and to judge my worth based upon my heart rather than my fortunes. In reality, she was an angel with a pure soul who didn't care about materialistic things or what she showed to the world, but about being fully present for her sister knowing her life would come to an end, and making the best of every second they had left together. It made me think hard and deep about my life, and where I was, and what I had truly achieved in my life spiritually?! What is success? Was I fulfilling my life's purpose? Is success really having the most expensive car? It's not. Of course the definition of success is something different to everyone. Even at that time, I can say that I was on a search for internal growth and my spiritual self, but I was still far from nonjudgmental, non materialistic...etc.Given, this is all relative, and everyone must follow a different path to their destination, but this story awakened my spirit. It touched me in a way that words had not in a very long time. This woman, was the most inspirational woman for me. I will never forget her energy, I will never forget the stories she told about her sister, and I will never forget how enlightened me. I will not judge a book by its cover if ever I can help it. I want to be good, I want to do things every day that truly matter, and I want to have a big heart for everyone. If that means I get trampled on, treated badly, or taken for granted… So be it. I want to be like this patchouli smelling, dread growing, lovely smiling person that I had been so lucky to hire. I am sad to say that she wasn't able to stay with us for very long because her path led her elsewhere, but I do intend to reach out to her from time to time. Remember when you go to judge somebody today based on what kind of car they drive, that they may have made sacrifices just to be there for their family that needed them, they may have saved a life yesterday, they may have fed the hungry; as a wonderful friend once said to me, "it's not what kind of car you drive, it's what you do with that car that counts" (all while she was loading donation boxes in her van). Would you do the same? Would you give up every monetary thing that you ever had just to be there for someone that you loved? That's something that you should be able say "yes" to without a second thought. Maybe even a stranger?!  Things are just things;they will clutter your home, bring you stress, convince you to work too many hours, they will brake, let you down, need to be replaced, and most will probably be insignificant in 10 years down the road (if not sooner)… But your relationships, the hearts that you touch, the experiences you share, and selfless acts that you do will be your legend; it will be what survives you. My mother once told me, "Missy, I have visited many people on their death beds, and I can say that I have never heard one of those people say to me that they wished they had been more successful or worked harder; they always say the same thing which is that they wished they had taken more time to be with loved ones." That is so very true. Stop working so hard, stop trying to keep up with the Jones',and find your perfect balance so that you too can enjoy life while living it, and be there for the ones that you love above all else. Namaste...