The following story is just one of many email exchanges that are shared between myself and the great friend of POM, Annette (aka Annspinwall.) She felt that this would be a worthy human interest story to share with a broader audience, and I agreed (after some cajoling.)
This message is a long one. You may want to save it for bedtime.
As you know, this morning I did my first “salt flush.” You may also recall that around lunchtime, thanks to said flush, I reported feeling hungry in a healthier kind of way. I decided to forgo eating until dinnertime but wanted a cup of coffee. Since it was such a beautiful day today, I decided to go to a nearby convenience store instead of making it myself (something that I rarely do.) Before I proceed, I must back up a bit.
You are also aware that I finally received my purchase from that fantastic artist. Since I had a ton of free time yesterday, I did a lot of YouTube binge-watching which included a series of her vids where she covers subjects like depression, anxiety, addictions, etc. In one of these videos, she talks about her morning routine which includes stretching and taking time to be quiet. I did this along with the salt flush. So, by the time I headed out for coffee, I was feeling very open and observant to signs and direction from God/universe. This mindset isn’t a new practice for me, so I’m aware that it’s a real thing. Unfortunately, the concerns and distractions of this world seem to always “suck me back,” or whatever Pacino says in Godfather III.
Back to the convenience store. As I’m approaching the door, I notice a woman using a walker about to exit. She was sitting on it (it’s the kind of walker that doubles as a crude wheelchair.) So, of course, I think to myself, “Look at that, the universe put me here just in time to open the door for this woman.” As I open the door to allow her to exit I immediately notice that she is distraught with tears in her eyes. She held up what looked like two dollar bills and asked me, “Do you have any Power Steering Fluid?” Of course, I didn’t, but since I’m “in the zone” I tell her to come back inside and show me where it is, and I will buy it for her. As I glance back at her, I now see that she only has one leg! It appeared to have been amputated from the hip, gone entirely. After we locate the fluid, I take it to the cashier and purposely pay with a fifty-dollar bill since I’ve decided to give her the change. But I also realize that I am going to need to help her with her car. She led me to her car located at the back of the lot. The hood was already up, and she took off the cap, and it was indeed dry as a bone. So I filled it up for her. I was still holding the bottle and the change when I remembered seeing YouTube videos where homeless people talk about how rare but beautiful it is when somebody acknowledges and speaks to them. So I took the time to get this woman’s story and give her emotional support. I’m not a touchy-feely person by any means, but I found myself reflexively touching her shoulder as support which surprised me. As it turns out, she lives about 100 miles away and had to come to the city where I live to go to the hospital. While in the hospital somebody took her money, yet still they kicked her to the curb. Her family story is riddled with the typical drug-addicted children, death, and suicide that is all too common these days.
As I gave her the bottle along with the change she started crying (she hates to ask for help, even in her condition.) She asked for my name and address to pay me back, and I informed her that I put aside a percentage of my income but prefer to give it to people in need rather than some church or big charity.
When I returned to the counter to pay for my coffee, I was told “no charge.” Driving home, I couldn’t help realizing that that woman rode around on a walker with one leg, found the steering fluid and took it to the counter to pay for it but was turned away because she was 2 or 3 dollars short. AND NOBODY DID ANYTHING! It was a busy Saturday afternoon! (It’s also possible that she realized she didn’t have enough money and never went to the counter. At least, I hope that’s the case.)
The subtle message from the universe did not escape me. Upon our initial meeting at the doorway, the woman held up two pieces of worthless paper (fiat currency) and asked me, “Sir, do you have any,
POWER: The ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality. The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
STEERING: The collection of components, linkages, etc. which allows any vehicle to follow the desired course.
FLUID: A substance that has no fixed shape and yields easily to external pressure. Able to flow easily.
And thanks to the positive influence of people like you and that inspiring YouTube artist I did! I had the POWER, and the STEERING, and the FLUIDITY…Amen! Now comes the hard part; maintaining it.