SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 162: Pass The Baton

At an unidentified hospital, an unidentified man, undergoes an unidentified invasive procedure. There is no emergency, no ambulance and no remorseful tears.

He is a good man, and I am proud to call him friend. With this he has asked me to pick him up, and with my wife included we make a plan for the return of his sports car from said hospital. You see… my friend does not want to overburden anyone, so he chose to drive himself one way… got to love his conscientious!

And being a self-respecting friend, it would be a sin to even consider allowing him to drive himself home, bearing after operation pain and groggery. He debates with me regarding the need of my service, but I win the argument, “There is no way you are driving home! I’m good… Shut up and enjoy your pre-opp, see you at the end of the day.”

Even turns out to be blessing in a way. I’m sure you’ll laugh at this reveal of my life. Our life is crazy busy, and three hours of traffic confinement becomes a dating road trip for my wife and I. “Boy Richard, you’re living in the fast lane, aren’t you buddy?”

We arrive at the hospital to find my friend recovering, woozy and well taken care of. And even in his wobbly condition, he remains focused in his ability to reach out in putting others before himself. I wish I could reveal his name, but he has asked me for anonymity, but I’ll tell you this, he is a banner to the purposes and challenges of 365.

My wife and I arrive to the reception area, and upon our checking in, appears our wheel-chaired buddy. Touting a loose smile he greets us with this introduction directed towards the chauffeur of his two-wheeled transport, his nurse. “Here is the guy I was telling you about, are you going to let him take your photo?”

Turns out that through the glare of fading sedation, I find out he has been talking up 365. We chat for a few, and even though my new nurse friend expresses her support of the project, she declines being interviewed and photographed.

I talk of passing it on, and with that, nurse hands the baton to the captivating Lorena, the face that welcomed my wife and I at our first arrival. Funny thing, the instant I first recognized her, something told me she is today’s friend. I ignored the initial feeling and now here we are. The point, “We need to listen to ourselves and trust the impressions we get of those around us.”

“Eyes up, and intuition open to the world.” I call it.

And what is that I speak of? I’ll lean toward Lorena to explain what I am talking about.

Like I said, at first sight, I knew Lorena was our friend of the day.

She possesses a compassion that can be felt standing in her presence. It is impossible to ignore.

I ask her, “What words of wisdom, advice or council do you have for the world?”

I’m taken back by her response, I have not heard this one before, and it is such an expected response that the thought of it never hit my radar.

Lorena sits angelically reflective, and nodding her head with a welcoming smile asks me, “What words of wisdom do you have?

It’s one of those teachers being taught by the student moments. I take my pause, “’I’m listening to the people of 365? Opening my mind in creating its mission? And through learning to write in that process – have managed to articulate quite a few core statements that I feel we are all coming to an agreement on? But in a thumbnail, ‘What really are my wisdoms to share with everyone?’”

I site several excerpts from my journals, stories shared with me by a few of our 365 friends and in doing so conclude with a reference.

“We were all once infants, innocent and clear minded. From that point the world influenced us. I suggest that we view each other as coming from that same place, and practice dropping our conceived perceptions of each other in striving to look deeper than first impression. To be accepting of each other for whom we are, and do our best to do what we can to look at the world with positive glasses; and accept stuff happens, good and bad.”

Whenever I say this, I have to reaffirm to you that I am not looking at people with rose-colored glasses. Just with open-mindedness and with the benefit of the doubt. And in doing so, my eyes are opening. I hope yours are too.

Lorena opens up, “I’m a religions person – a Christian.”

She pauses again for introspection, “No matter what anyone is going through, depression, a divorce or any difficult situation, God has answers, and his answers are for everyone.”

It’s only been a few minutes in speaking with Lorena, and I am touched with her trust in sharing a deep belief. I’m driven to look at the many faiths we have spoken with over the last months, and even those who are not believers in any single religion or at times even God; all talk of a higher power of some sort. And that higher power is where they all seem to admit to turn when life goes south.

That alone is cause to change our views of one another. Yes, even the person yelling at us to yield the lane may have a soft center. The question is, do we buy in, or do we choose to lean away from bad Juju.

Lorena, “Even when bad things happen, we have to say positive.”

Sound young? Naive? I ask you to think about where Lorena works for a second… the front desk of a very busy hospital / trauma center?

We discuss this point and I find out the Lorena has seen it all, and still, she keeps her humanity and compassion.

“It like the stuff you see on the TV show; Investigation, 1st 48 Hours and Disappearance. There is so much of humanity that is cold and heartless. I see suicides, people killing each other and lots of other bad stuff. People need to reach out to God.” Lorena shares.

I promise that I am not evangelizing, I really want to be certain that this is always open in my blog, but one this does not falter in the highest percentage of my strangers turned friends. From the darkest of circumstances to the seemingly easiest of life histories, this theme is a driver: Most of us believe in something greater than ourselves, and how sweet is that?

Lorena, as young as you are, I’m pretty sure you have seen much, it is apparent in your thoughtful questions and peaceful countenance.

As you say, “No matter what anyone is going through, depression, a divorce or any difficult situation, God has answers, and his answers are for everyone.”

We’ve let my healing friend sit far too long in the reception area and it’s time to get him home.

He and get to share my Accord, but for my speed hungry best gal, and with the encouragement of my inebriated buddy, we set her free to sports car freedom.

She grins ear-to-ear at the prospect of a highway zip in returning home, and with “Lets get going boys,” off we go.

Lorena, an absolute pleasure meeting you!