Tuesday, May 06, 2008

How It Works ... For Us All

Just this morning ...

I was singing … belting out the music and considering each word to “What a Wonderful World” (Yes, the same one that is playing each time that You visit this site. Though I have heard it many times, I still cling to its truths and the spirit of its melody.) Driving in the comfortable stillness of pre-dawn darkness, I was assembling, bagging, and tossing from the window of my van, this morning’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, and The Tampa Tribune … all the while singing that song … right out loud, and without any reservation.

Then I saw the vehicle coming down the street … and knew from the many times prior, who it was and what his destination was. So, I paused in my routine, and pulled into his driveway behind him. In a moment, he came up to my window and greeted me. “How Ya doin’ Bub?” He opened with his usual brusque yet warm demeanor. "Everything going OK?” (I knew that he asked this because of his awareness that, after twenty years of delivering newspapers to his neighborhood, I have been notified that my delivery route is being merged with another … and I will soon be without work.) “I’m doing well, My Friend. One day at a time … just like they are served up to us … You know.” I replied. “And how goes it with your business?" I asked. “Well, you knew that I retired? Didn’t I tell you?” he asked. “Why no … you didn’t, in fact. How did that come to pass?"

“Well, last June I was getting ready for work, as usual, when the phone rang. It was the son of my best friend, and partner of twenty-six years, on the phone. ‘Dad won’t be in to work today’ he said. ‘Oh, and why’s that?’ I asked him. ‘Because Dad died last night.’ was his reply. Well, after the wake, all the flowers, and all that … I gave it some thought … and decided that there is more to life than all that business and work. I was leaving Her (he gave his head a side-way nod to indicate that “Her” was in the house.) alone every day. And she deserves more than that. So I retired. And now I am here for her and fix her lunch every day.”

I knew some of his “Her” story. She is his drug-addiction-devastated daughter. And this Korean War vintage, US Marine Corps veteran, of battles too horrible to recount … this now-retired Steel Worker, of rugged and severe career background … this brusque and crustily veneered man, who I have never seen in any garb that is not starched, pressed to perfection, and spotless … whose every element is always in ’perfect order’ and ’ship-shape’ … took his daughter in, and adopted her children to raise himself in order that they might have a stable and caring home. I knew this.

This is a man who waved me down from his passing vehicle a couple of mornings ago, and told me that he had phoned “some nice lady at the Tribune” the week before “and told her that she had a great guy on this route.” And that “he (meaning me) is the only reason that I get the Tribune.” And that “if he wasn’t treated right in this route-merging business … well she could take her Tribune and put it where the sun don’t shine.” (He then told me that had this “nice woman” not been so nice … and a lady … he would have told her to shove the Tribune up ____ well you get the idea. I told you … he is a crusty and seasoned man of neither frills nor niceties.)

After a bit of inquiry I determined that the “Nice Woman” who he had spoken so eloquently with was none other than the Publisher/President of The Tampa Tribune. He took this revelation with a shrug of indifference.

So now, Dear reader and Friend, you have the “stage” set. And now I can share with you a bit of how wonderful it is to live in harmony with the Voice of Life … that Still, Small, Voice within … my Lady Muse, so oft referred to. For, as this most-manly of men, Man finished his few words of description of his commitment to “my Little One” (as he referred to his daughter), I said “You have done well, My Friend. You listened to this (and I repeatedly pointed to my Heart … for One does not use words like ‘Heart’ to a man as unsentimental as this), and ‘this’ lasts far beyond the failure of ‘this’” (and I shook with one hand my other arm … indicating ‘the body’ … for One doesn’t speak of physical things to this sort of Man.) “Yeah! You’re right!” he said, “and it matters ‘up there’ (he pointed heavenward) too.” Then he extended his hand to shake mine. It was not a quick hand-shake. It was a firm, yet gentle “hand-hug.” And tears were in his eyes. “I love You, My Friend!” I spoke, “I do really love You.” he nodded, turned, and went into his garage. Then with a wipe of his eyes, entered the door from the garage into his home.

This is how it works, Dear One. How Being available to Life’s leading gives opportunity to Be the One Voice that Life can use to let such a man … One who is so staunchly committed to his habits and rituals … know that He is loved. Life … God … Heaven … Allah … The Creator, The Almighty … whatever identity label suites your place of belief and/or understanding, wants to communicate Love to us … the Created … the individual and wondrously unique Creatures that we so beautifully are. And You and I have the opportunity to do just what Satchmo was singing with me this morning. We can make this … Our World … more Wonderful … by simply Being willing to say what Life wants to have said … “I love You, My Friend. I REALLY do love YOU.”



lime said...

i have a wise and wonderful friend who says the only two virtues in life are awareness and gladness. i am struck by the awareness you and this man have of each other and the resulting gladness you give each other by taking steps to meaningfully address the needs you perceive in each other.

i am concerned about this employment issue for you...very much so.

nitebyrd said...

My dear, john-michael ~ I'm not a people person, as you are. But every so often I do hear of or meet a person that blows my pre-conception of the human race right out of the water. It's those times that I'll hear, "It's A Wonderful World" playing in my mind and feel hopeful.

Your friend is such a person. How lucky for you to have met him.

You are also such a person. How lucky for me to have met you.

John-Michael said...

And I am blessed with a wise (a quality that she would play down and not feel comfortable with my statement of ... but one that I become , day-by-day more aware of in her) Friend who has just given me the Gift of this insight from her Friend! "Awareness and Gladness." They sound innocuous enough ... but consider them ... and My, Oh My! They are powerful, indeed. I am thinking of the political upheavals and insurrections that have been spawned in the awakened "awareness" of a People who had the sense of gladness attainable in their vision of something better. Powerful stuff! i must remember to thank my Friend for her insight shared.

If I fail therein, perhaps you could remind me, My Darling Lime. Adding, thereby, to the validations for my loving You. [smile]

John-Michael said...

An interesting insight with my Friend and my Self, My Dear NiteByrd, lies in the element of our story that was our rather severe dislike of each other for many years (though we knew nothing of who we each actually were.) I knew him as a hostile and aggressive driver of an obnoxiously loud diesel truck who cut past me in an intersection because he didn't want to wait for the traffic that had me blocking his progress. And he knew me as that jerk who inched along doing the "paper thing" and impeding his desired progress with my old van that has mold growing on its unclean sides (him being a fastidiously compulsive individual in the "cleanliness and order" realm.)

We "endured" the sharing of our mutual "space" in the world until the day that I recognized the US Marine Corps decal on his truck. I offered him a free newspaper that day with a "Semper Fi!" (the motto of the Corps) ... he said "WW II, Korea", to which I replied "Viet Nam." He then became animated to the extent of initiating waves and "Hello"s. And the growth came from there. We genuinely look forward to our couple of seconds of personal validation each time we see each other now.

And Darling Friend, I count our shared friendship as a blessed Gift from Heaven and am constantly happy in and grateful for it. I love You, Dear NiteByrd.

lime said...

*blushing (though i'm not sure if it's more due to the words or praise or because you already know so well how i'd react to them...remarkably aware of you)

LOVE the story you responded to nitebyrd with about how you connected with this man after a history of disgruntlement. validates my conviction that if we can find common ground even the most disparate types can get along.

John-Michael said...

To twist the song a bit ... "To Love You ... is to Know You" My Darling Lime.

[Great Big Ol' Grin]

San said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, John-Michael. Those with the crusty exteriors sometimes have the softest hearts, don't they? And surprising depths of intuition. And great reserves of strength.

Your listening to the voice of life and acting on what you heard--that must have acted as a magnet to pull such a person into your life. And I do hope he has some clout with that publisher.

Corey~living and loving said...

EAch and every time I get the pleasure of reading your thoughts I leave wtih a great sense of appreciation for all human kind. You open my heart....and my eyes, and remind me of what I already know. Sometimes we just need that reminder. The post was great, but the story of your years of annoyance of eachother is even better. It is something we can all relate to, and learn from. If we look hard enough, we'll see something we can relate to. WE just have to remember to keep looking.

John-Michael said...

As you so aptly said, Sweet San, This "listening to the voice of life and acting on what you heard" thing does make loving a lot more pleasant ... and even (on occasion) fun!

I thank You, Dear Lady, and Darling Friend, for your kind attention. You make me feel good!

John-Michael said...

Kind, gentle, and caring Corey (whose little daughter [Sugar] is enchanting!) how I do thrill with each remembrance of You. You carry a Spirit that has always blessed my Core. And I am grateful ... always ... for your presence. As I am for your your succinct summary of Truth. Thank You.

I love You, You know.

jillie said...

Lime has put in words that were pretty much indescribable to me. I see that your friend is one blessed person for having you in his life!

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I love stories of people passing on "the good stuff."

John-Michael said...

And I know the blessing of having an ally, someone who removes that sting of aloneness when dealing with life, Dearest Jilie. How sweet Friendship is when we are set upon by circumstances and need the assurance that our own strength is reinforced my that of Another. Loving Kindness provides just such an assurance for me, and I am grateful for that Friendship.

Just as I am grateful for, and find enjoyment in your loving care and Friendship Dear One. You make my Heart smile! For I do love You.

John-Michael said...

"Good Stuff" is in abundance for me, when I hear your voice, Sweet Friend Beth. I do believe that I will ever reflect on the magic of your image, as you charge from the chute for that first barrel, whenever I think of You. What magnificent power and exhilarating cohesion between two creatures is displayed in that performance by You and your beautiful horse! Now THERE is some "Good Stuff."

Thank you, My darling, for your kind presence. How I do, indeed, love You!

Katney said...

And it is, as you and Satchmo say, a wonderful world! This post and the one below speak volumes to who and where I am right now.

John-Michael said...

My Very Dear Katney, the "Keeper of the Gates" to the Heaven of ideas, thoughts, inspirations, and exciting challenges that lie in the volumes in the Library in your care. How I do revere your high role in the life of the world that You give your service to. A Librarian, and a self-confessed "lifetime Learner" has to be one of the best lives to celebrate each day.

I know that You, of all people, have the capacity to enjoy and savour your current experiences in your "Wonderful World."

I love all that You not only are ... but represent. NAMASTE

Classic Charm said...

Ahhh what a sweet, wonderful story. You my friend have a heart of gold, and I am lucky to know you even if it's just on the computer, but you are truly a blessing.

John-Michael said...

Dearest Rose, Having had far too much experience "knowing" people in their physical presence, though not "knowing" each other spiritually as the individuals that we are ... I am far more satisfied with You and I knowing each other in the meaningful and eternal way that we do, than that passing, surface consciousness of "sharing space" with another being. This Love that I am blessed to know for You is of material and lasting value that surpasses artificial nods of acknowledgment.

(And WHEN we do enjoy one another's presence ... how much sweeter!)

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