Life lessons abound these days. I suppose it’s because I’m listening. I feel the winds of change blowing and it has made me slow down and take stock of not just what’s going on inside of me but those around me as well. It’s fascinating when we open ourselves up, even a smidgen, to hear what the Universe wants us to hear. The tools we need right now to grow and learn the lessons we are supposed to learn. Some days those lessons are like a slap and are uncomfortable, but necessary. Other days, it is as though the sun breaks through the clouds and I feel the warmth of love radiate.
Today brought an interesting encounter which has made me ponder the presence of life lessons. Let me take you back to a few days before Christmas to set the scene. I had been out with some friends and we were all headed back to our cars when one of my friends and I noticed that we each had a parking ticket. I felt rather perturbed at this fact since I was less than ten minutes from my allotted time running out. At almost the exact moment I noticed the ticket on my windshield, a homeless man approached me and asked me for a twoonie (that’s a two dollar Canadian coin, just in case you weren’t sure). I was so caught up in my own thoughts I instantly apologized that I didn’t have any change (which I honestly didn’t) and moaned about having just gotten a ticket. The man apologized to me…for my having a ticket. I felt like a self-absorbed, entitled brat for having said what I did. This man’s kindness made me stop and think about my flippant thought process. Lesson learned, or so I thought.
I don’t go downtown often, but when I do parking is scarce and I always remember that less than stellar parking ticket incident. Today I was running downtown to pick up lunch for a friend that is temporarily housebound and myself. I scored a great parking spot right by the location I was headed to and there was even time still left on the meter! My footsteps were light…I counted myself lucky. As I was walking away from my car, a man approached me and asked me for a twoonie. Normally, I am ashamed to admit, I feel a bit apprehensive about handing people money. I’d much prefer to supply them with a cup of coffee or something to eat if I have the opportunity and means to do so. However, my hand instinctively slid into my pocket and pulled out a two dollar coin and handed it to the man. As I set it in his palm I looked him directly in the eye as he thanked me and said “Bless you.” To my surprise, this was the same man who I had moaned about my parking ticket to before Christmas. It was an instant realization that I was given another opportunity to learn my lesson. To think first and foremost with kindness, to send out the consideration of another person’s needs in the moment, to not judge based on a preconceived idea. Sure, this man could be a millionaire that poses as someone in need. He may have a substance abuse problem. He could be whatever nonsense we tell ourselves to validate our fears of avoiding lending a kindness to a stranger. I’d like to think that he is first and foremost a man who needs a bit of human kindness and a couple of dollars.