A wonderful conversation with a good friend this morning led me to a moment of deep celebration that I want to share with you.
Julia told with me that she was feeling a bit frustrated with herself because she is clinging to her old Jeep, which is beginning to show its age. It is costing her more and more money to keep running and her friends are encouraging her to get rid of it. She is loathe to part with it because it is a symbol of independence and freedom for her and has been with her since a particularly wrenching part of her life. She and her Jeep have had an eventful, productive journey of growth together and I suspect she may have a bit of fear that her growth will stop if she lets it go. Like many of us, her life today is not exactly where she had thought it would be and she is yearning for more stability. Her Jeep has been providing some of that stability for her for quite a while.
Her feelings make perfect sense to me and I stumble around a bunch trying to offer her support. I tell her the story of my beloved dog, Conan, who I thought could somehow live forever, and of course could not. I offer her a scrap of Buddhist wisdom by reminding her that our own personal actions are the only thing we actually get to take with us when we leave this dance… that all the rest of it will fall away. I suggest that maybe the best comfort for her right now is to hold open her mind to the possibility that her Jeep will leave one day in a way that will feel all right for her. I even joke that she could share her story of devotion and loyalty with the Jeep Company and perhaps they will step up and restore her loved one. I don’t know if any of this actually helps her. I hope she is comforted by my efforts, which are perhaps the best any of us can ever offer to any one: our clear desire to be of help, human beings reaching out to one another.
Then I head to my regular Friday morning “church” meeting and Julia begins helping me.
For many happy months I have been spent my Friday mornings sitting in the upstairs window of Truckee’s “For Goodness Sake” and listening as recordings of Abraham-Hicks pour truckloads of wisdom into my heart and soul. I first sat there in the fall, when the Aspens outside were in their quaking, glorious, golden colors, and I was captivated by the light shining through them. Throughout the winter I entertained myself watching the light play with the snow, the roofline of the rail yard buildings, the rail tracks themselves. Today, I am delighted to see that last week’s swollen buds have given way to tiny, perfect, new Aspen leaves, and the quaking has begun again.
And I am even more delighted to see that my buddy, my companion for the winter is still there. One dead leaf from last fall has hung on all of this time and has become a little symbol of stability for me. Like Julia’s jeep.
I say hello to my leaf and introduce him to Lorrie, who has never known just what I have been looking at all of these months. She doesn’t blink and eye when I explain what he means to me and I am so pleased by her open acceptance of me. She gets me.
I sit and greet the leaf and all of the other familiar sights and let the learning begin to flow in. My eyes wander from the swirling late spring snowflakes to the patterns of the dripping water on the cars below and then back to my leaf. Suddenly, I realize that one day I will sit here and my leaf will be gone and that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Months of wind, water, ice and snow could not do what will be completely, easily and naturally done by the arrival of a new, little leaf pushing its way out of the tip of the branch. I am breathless at the beauty of this, and overcome with gratitude to Julia for helping me to see it while my leaf is still here. My stability is just as fragile as hers and my companion will leave me as well. I am so happy to have this morning and to see my leaf one more time, to be reminded that the joy is here and now, now, now. All I can do is celebrate the months of happiness this tiny, graceful reminder of life and strength and persistence has given me. Next Friday the branch might be empty, the leaf gone forever from my sight… but nothing can ever take the memory from me.
And nothing can ever really take your Jeep from you, Julia.
It has been about four years since I first wrote this post, and many leaves have come and gone on my tree. Still remembering….)