SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 104: “We’re Living The Dream”

Half way to Arizona, our annual family holiday visit with my wife’s side of the family. The journey has been relatively stress free, thanks to a departure time of 4am, compliments of my wife’s smart planning.

At first, the groggy-eyed hour of 4am was not that appealing to me. But now, still being early morning, and over 50% traveled to our destination. I will never again complain to an early drive call.

The whole family is in the vehicle, dogs and all. And if any of you have traveled with young children and pets, you know the routine. Stop every ninety miles, or thereabouts, for pee, food, stretching, and an event I have fatherly titled, “the running of the kids.” Got to have a sanity building discharge of some energy on the long treks.

Having to do the necessary business of healing from our in route behind the wheel Subway sandwiches, we pull into rest stop two.  It’s a typical break, cold toilet seat, cramped car seat back stretch, and the token correction from the maintenance man of the stop (got to thank my Scotty, Rocky, for marking the “no dogs in this area” sign).

The horizon is barren; we’re definitely in the high desert. It’s not overly trafficked, but the passer byes are eclectic. It’s kind of like being in an infinitely large elevator, very close to a group of unknown people, all strangers in singular paths to personal destinations.

Even though we are in an incredibly open space with no apparent walls, other than the sanctuary of the rest room stalls, all around me are people in their own private spaces.

I know at this instant, I must reach out with 365. I’m immediately hit with a weird vibe; feels like the eyes of everyone are upon me. Maybe it’s a sleep deprived paranoia, perhaps it’s the camera backpack I sport, or who knows? Possibly I look like a predator of some sort, but whatever the case, I’m feeling out of place.

Wherever I wander, it’s as if I am Moses parting the red see, and the water, an ocean of people. I walk forward and they part away from me, they are obviously distancing themselves from whatever I have to share.

So with the parable of Moses in mind, I take a breath, and regardless of how difficult, accept that there may be a reason for my being here. “Could this parting of people actually be a road of human walls directing me to my new friend?”

I submit; letting go of any predetermined targets, I set route back to our chariot, OK, Dodge Durango. Hey if I’m using Moses symbolically, indulge me in giving me literary license to theme my mode of transportation.

All right, I think I’ve made my theatrical point in setting the stage.

Have you ever lost your keys, only to realize that they are right in front of your eyes? Or my personal favorite, one hour spent looking for my glasses, only to realize that I am wearing them.

I’ve been looking the wrong way the whole time I’ve been here. I’ve spoken of the voice that directs me in 365. It kicks in as I decide to give myself permission to let go and accept this self motivation, “If I am not supposed to meet someone here, that’s what is meant to be, I acknowledge that I will find the right person, with the right message, at the right time.”

Enter, car slip left, Pat and Bruce. They are literally parked three slips away from our rented Dodge.

I first approach Pat, tell her of 365 and the purpose of its existence. I share with her the first question that is challenged to all who join, “What words of wisdom, or council, do you have for the world?”

Her eyes open, “Let me ask Bruce?” She goes to her van, “Bruce, remember what we were just talking about? ‘Words for the world,’ check out what this guy is doing, we should do it.”

Here we go again, 365 is directing me to where I need to travel.

Pat and Bruce are a dedicated couple, both with a shared vision, “Take care of ourselves, so we can give to others.”

“Life is not for stress, it is for community and doing good for the world.”

And it seems that everyone that is making these types of statements are doing the work to back it up. Pat and Bruce are no exception to this rule.

In 2008, they decided to cash out of their life in Texas, “We were lucky, sold our house when real estate was at a high.” Makes sense, Bruce is retired CPA who offers this great council. “We live below our means and are not caught up in materialistic things.”

From there, they bought a van conversion, traveled from Alaska to Guatemala and ultimately settled in Tucson. “We explored for eighteen month, met a lot of great people, and now are settled in our magical house on the hill. It is a paradise, and our life is filled with love.”

Bruce is a giver, I am convinced of this in the way he explains his relationship with Pat and the love he has for her.

He emailed this to me just moments ago.
I can tell you that Pat is a wonderful person and humanitarian. She gives of herself to the underserved without reservation or compensation. She volunteers at two clinics in Tucson, St Elizabeth’s and Clinica Amistad.  Her work with Sergio (I’ll get to him in a second) is amazing.

Me, I’m a retired CPA who then became a stock trader for the last twenty years.  I can tell you this; I am the luckiest man alive to lead exactly the life I want with the best companion.  Pat and I have been together for twenty-three years and have never married…Don’t fix what ain’t broke as we say in Texas.”

What of Pat’s humanitarian service, and possibly part of the reason for our meeting this day? I checked out Pat’s history and her work with Sergio.

Pat, a seasoned medical professional, Dermatologist turning MD, has dedicated her life to giving service to underprivileged communities. Not only does she travel to Mexico twice a year to help raise money for Sergio’s medical mission and education outreach, she works all year long to help with getting the message out for the good that he does.

I wish I had the word count to give you the full rundown of Sergio and his cause, but in respect to you in keeping my blog roll manageable, I am provision you his link:

“We are living the dream,” Pat tells me.

They leave us with a few ideas to chew on.

From Pat:
“I’ve never fully read the Bible, but I live by this standard.”
She quotes from the book of Luke”

“Luke 6: 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”

Bruce seconds her thought:
I’m paraphrasing his suggestion, “Life is about community, not about political bickering or class separation.”

And their combined message:
“Take care of yourself, work on mastering where you are, let go of obsessing on where you are supposed to be in life, and above all, give back. You will be happy.”

In closing, Bruce nails it with this thought, “I’m not sure where we’ll be next, but sometimes it’s nice to not know what’s coming.”

Pat, Bruce, “A pleasure traveling with you!