People are there for you when you need them and when you no longer need them, then they will no longer be there.. And this is okay because, if you are open for help to come to you, then it will come in the most amazing ways.
This is not the easiest concept to grasp or to believe in, especially for those of us who have lost loved ones at times in our lives when it feels like we need them more than ever. How can someone say that a child who loses their father no longer needs their father to raise them? A wife who loses their husband, no longer needs her husband to lover her? What sense does that make?
An uncle of mine who was my go-to person for all conversations about manhood, died when I was 27. And though the age, 27, seems like the age one would no longer need to be taught anything about manhood, those of us who know better, know that learning about being a man is a lifelong process. I cannot tell you the number of times since his death that I have missed not only his presence, but especially his words of advice. Yet, as I look back at my life, I can honestly say that there has never been a time when God has not put the right person in my life at the right time. (And for all my agnostic and atheist friends, of which I have a few, please stay with this thought despite my mention of God… For me, the word God represents a divine higher force that is within all of us and connects all of us, not only to one another, but to every living thing in the universe… So try to rock with this thought without feeling like I am trying to convert anyone to anything… Trust and Believe, I am not the Converting Type)
The moments when I have felt like I cannot take another step forward in my life without some sage advice, that advice has come to me through the most surprising ways. I happen to hear a conversation at a coffee shop while waiting on line, a conversation between two Brooklyn-hipsters about how meditation helped someone calm their nerves. And maybe that morning I was thinking what the hell can I do to calm my nerves.
I sit in the back of a cab and the driver, an older man from the Punjab, tells me a story about how he lost his own father, a story that I gave him no reason to tell me. He tells me that the thing that bothers him the most is that he could not spend time with him over his last year of life. How lucky people are who can be with their parents in the last years of their life, he says. And of course, he tells me this as I am on my way to have lunch with my sick father as I do every Sunday.
There have even been times when people have come to me, uninvited, to tell me that they had a dream about me and that in the dream, they saw an image or heard some words and so they feel that maybe, based upon their dream, God is telling me take this path over that one or to take no path at all for a while. And of course, there are the times when I have had dreams that speak directly to my needs in ways that I can only describe as spiritual and sacred.
And if one does not go for the miraculous dream-stuff, then we can keep it simple by saying that, for me at least, that those moments when I truly have felt alone and asked God why the hell I am so alone, that, in truth, I was never really alone at all… I know this because, after I made it through those moments, years later when I look back in amazement as to how I made it, I have come to realize that throughout the most difficult times, people came to me when I needed them the most. And the times when they did not come to me, were really the times I didn’t need them as much as I thought I did.
One day when I was driving home I had a mini-breakdown of sorts. Between my dad’s cancer and other insane things happening in my life, I found myself so frigging distraught that I had to pull over just to catch my breath. Just as I pulled over, a Churchy-Jamaican-Woman, with her long dress, Sunday-hat and black shoes, came right up to my car window, and said to me that she felt it in her heart to share a psalm with me. She proceeded to read it to me, her Jamaican accent strengthening me as much as her words.. It was Psalm 18-6: In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
Don’t worry, I am still not trying to convert anyone.. I share this because it happened to me at a moment when I needed something like this to happen to me. The Churchy-Jamaican-Woman said something to me at the right time and her words lifted the sadness away from me and allowed me to drive home in peace. And once again, stuff like this has happened to me many times, with people from many faiths and with people who are in some ways, faithless.. For me, it is not about the faith so much as it is about the people being there when I truly need them to be there.
I feel that the key to all of this is that we have to be open to letting these small miracles happen in our lives and, perhaps even more important than being open, we have to be honest with ourselves, acknowledging that we need the help to begin with.. Maybe the problem is not that people are not there for us, but that we are not there enough for ourselves to know when we need God (remember… divine force)… and if not God (or your idea of God), then maybe a Churchy-Jamaican-woman or maybe a Brooklyn-hipster on a coffee line or maybe just a cab driver from the Punjab… Or maybe just some idiot blog-writer like me… to offer a friendly word or a helping hand.
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