Published author, leadership and organizational development mentor, inspirational speaker, advocate for cold noses as healers Architecting a social movement of unconditional listening one voice, one story at a time
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
His name means “one not afraid to express his opinion”.
Once again, I am reminded of the power of word definitions and how there is more than one way to perceive a meaning of every moment we live.
For this gracious, humble, grateful, wise soul had opinions he welcomed sharing. He was open to any questions I wanted to ask. An open book. But only if I wished to listen, respectful of me if I wanted silence, or if I wanted to engage in dialogue. He was taking his cue from me.
His opinions were bold. And strong.
For they spoke of a longing for unity among divisiveness our world seems to know intimately now.
They spoke of resilience if we could bring ourselves together and not pull ourselves apart.
They spoke of truth, near seventy years of proven wisdom on a journey that knew pain and joy, fear and peace. And faith.
Oh yes, bold opinions indeed about a world that once held abundant innocence and now held the wounds of lost naivety. Or lost hope.
Now it was a world filled with self-protection against uncertainty manifesting in the forms of frustration, anxiousness, anger, and blame. This unseen virus has held us all hostage, he proclaimed as he shared his opinion that we can beat the virus if we unite. Quietly, gently, he shared how the virus has divided us. Grateful for the life he has lived in the United States since he was twelve years old, his voice conveying a pronounced deep appreciation and pride the United States is the greatest place in the world to live. Then his voice filled with that sorrowful, wishful yet accepting of what life brings wisdom as he softly said but perhaps, we’ve forgotten. From his vantage point, brokenness has filled in the hearts where they once held only belief.
He has known loss over these last twelve months, a unity with every person in the world who was not discriminated against in losing during this pandemic experience. Every person has been brought to a crossroads of letting go and choosing the individual response of what perspective they allowed to come. It isn’t his first loss, again, a universal bond that loss is something every human being knows. He was in celebration of this being day two that he was back to work after several months, and I was blessed to be the one he was taking to my home away from home on my first travel since the world momentarily stopped moving.
Among what I have loved best when ever I have traveled is the souls I meet. Those “moments” individuals who temporarily step onto our life path amidst the “seasons” and “lifetime” people who we know for a chapter of our story or for the entire book of our life. I am often blessed with the richest encounters from these individuals divinely put on my path to message affirmation or clarity I seek.
There is a childlike joy I feel as I prepare to travel, excited for the stories I might get to hear from a fortuitous encounter in an airport.
Or a shuttle bus.
Maybe that is what it is like for Ginger and Kutana when we travel to our trail. For them it is the squirrel, or chipmunk, or rabbit. Or robin or goose. Maybe it is the same squirrel that chatters in the tree at the girls as the one they saw the day before, a taunting game the three of them play. Yet, I like to think it is a different squirrel and the girls are living my joy of that brief encounter with a stranger.
Perhaps, too, if I choose to see more than I initially see, the girls and the squirrel are not divided in Nature, with the girls as potential predators and the squirrel potential prey. Perhaps they are communicating let’s play, and it is I who am introducing the division when I call to the girls to leave the squirrel alone. The girls are following a natural rhythm to life, an unconditional flow with the moments at hand, fully present. They live life as if every moment is a
Hours before I met this dear soul that would pick me up from the airport on my first trip in thirteen months, I had been creating an idea for implementation. I desire to continue to co-author stories of hope. Twenty-three co-authors helped create Hope Has a Cold Nose, and now their stories are inspiring hope and healing to not only other military veterans. Hope and healing are cascading across the globe through the stories in HHCN.
The integration of pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, and grief into living hope-full lives. Stories of hope that have risen from pain. Stories to inspire. And something more.
To unite. For though no person lives a story exactly the same as another, each person knows loss.
And a rise up. And perhaps down again before climbing back up. Each person knows the call of their soul to not give up. And each person knows a dark night of the soul.
Hours after deciding I was feeling called to begin asking all of you, and all whom you know, and all whom they know to join me in gathering stories of hope that I will then coauthor and share through blogs and podcasts. And who knows, maybe be led to book three. (smile). Hours after deciding, and asking for a sign of affirmation, my path crossed with this dear wise soul who had an inspiring story to share.
My path intersected again with this dear gentleman three days later. I asked him if he liked to read, for I had brought with me a copy of Hope Has a Cold Nose with the intention that someone would cross my path to give it to. He graciously told me that he did not read much, as he preferred to experience life, not read books about how he should live life. I casually asked if it would make a difference if they were life stories. He thought it just might. He could probably give something like that a try. I didn’t tell him about HHCN, as my heart held the space asking if he was the one to fulfill my intention. Waiting for that inner voice to whisper yay or nay.
As he continued driving, he went on to tell me about an Andy Griffith show titled Man in a Hurry. A businessman breaks down in Mayberry, in a very anxious hurry to get his car fixed, and during the lengthy time Gomer takes to repair it, the man has a realization that life should not be lived in haste. When Gomer brings back the repaired car, the man insists it has another noise and should be looked at so that he can stay longer. I cannot begin to write the story in the same eloquence in which it was being told to me. I can’t find the words to describe the grace nor the tone of voice nor the grandfatherly wisdom of a man as I listened to what wasn’t being said. How many people in haste he has taken here, and oh please hurry sir to there. I listened to him not speak what I was certain he had intimate knowledge about through how he had lived and not read about life is precious and should be savored.
That I then learned he had suffered a heart attack five years earlier affirmed what I felt.
I asked him what was one of the greatest life lessons he had learned? That God always answers my prayers, he stated. He then shared with me about a time he was working two jobs, how his family was provided for and they were doing ok, but how he did not have the budget to take his children to Disney World as they so wished to go and do. As he worked one of his two jobs, he prayed. A couple of hours later a gentleman he was taking care of offered him tickets for two remaining days to Disney World that this gentleman and his family were now not able to use. My prayers are always answered he gratefully and humbly said.
I shared with him how I could not remember who said it, but we can Live as if every moment is a miracle. Or no moment is. He didn’t disagree as he dropped me at the door and we both said our “wish you wells”.
A few hours later, as both of us touched each other’s hearts with the gift of him receiving a copy of Hope Has a Cold Nose and a handwritten note from me, and I in return receiving his handwritten thank you note and a surprise room service delivery to enjoy a glass of wine courtesy of the hotel, I knew I had received my sign affirming implement a movement to cascade hope and healing through story sharing.
In that way that I believe every moment is a miracle.
If we choose to see.
Do not underestimate the power of gentleness. Gentleness is strength wrapped in peace and therein lies the power to change the world. – L. R. Knost
If you have a story of hope to share, please click on this link:
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