Friday, April 30, 2004

When God needs to Whisper to you…

I once met a man that changed the course of my life…

Many people can describe an important chapter of their lives beginning with the above phrase. Most of us can even begin various chapters the same way. I’ve always known that God sends angels in the form of friends or strangers to help us or get us back on track when we most need it. Even so, it never ceases to amaze me when one of these people crosses my path.

I repeated myself for the fourth time to the client who sat in front of me, desperately hoping that my final explanation would wipe the look of confusion off his face. Time was of the essence and I couldn’t afford to waste another five minutes repeating the same contract to him. There was still plenty of work to be done and there was another client already waiting for me. I smiled relief when comprehension finally registered on my client’s face and quickly greeted my next client who sat down in front of me with a smile.

Although his smile was extraordinarily warm and his gaze was piercing, I rushed into my routine talk. He made himself comfortable in front of me and joked that he didn’t know how I put up with some clients. Without removing my eyes from the documents I was filling in, I smiled and replied that cheerful and friendly clients such as him, made me forget about the difficult clients that I have to deal with. It was when he told me that I was someone very special that I finally noticed that he had been taking notes on my character.

Intrigued by a stranger’s first impression of me, I put down my pen and asked him the basis of his analyses. The forty-seven year old man gave me a knowing smile, the kind I recognised on my father’s face when he was just about to give me words of wisdom. He didn’t answer my question and instead proceeded with giving me a little bit of advice. The very basic message in his words rang loudly in my heart as the principles that I base my character on… what he told me, I hope never to forget:

“Beside the obvious fact that you’re a patient and friendly person, you have warmth radiating from you! It’s nice to see; in fact it’s almost rare to see someone your age still so positive and caring. Whatever happens in your life, never let anyone put out that fire inside you! Don’t let people destroy your passion!”

He went on to tell me how difficult it is to be true to oneself. An obvious cheerful person, he told me of how it had been hard to remain positive and how he’d often lost to life’s disappointments. He told me a little about his journey’s obstacles and I told him a little about the path that had brought me until where I am today. Although we spoke of life’s obstacles in general, eventually we both realised that the greatest of life’s disappointments had to do with feelings and our sentiments towards other people.

Trying to lighten the conversation, he told me that he was glad that I’d left South Africa and had come to Madeira.
“You would’ve gone to waste in a country like that!”
I asked him what made him think that I wasn’t going to waste on this island and once again our conversation drifted from cultures and ways of thinking to the kinds of people we know. As he spoke of disappointments, my mind into the memory of the latest disappointment I’d gone through that was still very fresh. It must’ve shown in my eyes, or my face must’ve betrayed my thoughts because he noticed it quicker than I could say: “No matter how prepared you think you are for a disappointment, it still hits you like a ton of bricks.”

I assured my newfound friend that life my journey hadn’t consisted of smooth seas and that many storms along the way had left me shipwrecked. Somehow I always seem to pick myself up again. I like the person I am too much, to let people and life kill the very essence of me. The hardest job anyone has is to maintain your soul intact.

Both our expressions mirrored the good impression that we left on each other. It wasn’t just his words and attitude that impressed… he’s the first man who’s ever said, “ I don’t help out at home… I work at home, because cooking and cleaning is just as much my job as it is my companions”. Commenting that it’s a pity that I’d have to wait for the boys I know to reach forty-seven to reach that maturity, he laughed and left me with the sad news that unfortunately it takes boys long to grow up, and some never ripen! He did however, suggest to me not to loose hope and most importantly, not to settle for second best.

My client took an hour of my time but the good it did me was priceless. When he left, I sighed wondering if that was God’s way of answering a quick desperate prayer. It occurred to me that just as my client had been my angel for the day, I could’ve been his. And as if my pondering needed to be confirmed, he came back just to tell me that he had been glad to have met me and would take me in his thoughts. I believe that these “angels” in form of strangers or friends is God’s way of talking to me.

“To the world you may just be someone, to someone, you may just be the world.”

No comments: