Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Three Women

"You can do much...if in a situation calling for help, you think of it this way: I am only here to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He... will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal."   

--A Course in Miracles

Recently I had interactions with three women which healed me, inspired me and helped me on my spiritual journey. Here are their stories:

(All names have been changed to protect the individual's privacy...) 

MERRY: A couple of weeks ago I made a mistake at work. I deposited a check into the wrong member's account. Doh! 

In my defense, this member's name was just one tiny letter different from another member's name and this one letter made the spelling of her name a bit unconventional. Nonetheless, it was a mistake. 

The member, who I'll call Merry, called our Member Service Center to let us know about the mistake and they called me to make the correction. Turns out the very same thing had happened to this member two weeks earlier, also at our branch. Double doh!

I made the correction and picked up the phone to call the member. 

As I did I reflected on how this might go.....I know that these kinds of mistakes (mistakes with our money, our livelihood) can hit people hard and bring up a lot of fear. Having it happen twice in two weeks is bound to make a person scared. So I was prepared. 

I was prepared for frustration. I was prepared for anger. I was even prepared for yelling. What I wasn't prepared for was Merry.

"Oh don't worry honey, it happens all the time!" she laughed. "Even my doctor can't get it straight." (Insert "surgery gone wrong" joke here.) 

We chatted for a few more moments, I apologized again and we hung up. 

In the end it was no big deal, but this conversation has stuck with me. It is a reminder to me that I always have a choice. I can choose to REACT from a place of fear or to RESPOND from a place of love. Merry chose love and I am ever grateful. 

JOY: About a year ago Joy came into the branch to use her new bank account. She had just moved to Seattle and was about to start her residency at a local hospital. From the first moment she came in she was a favorite. She just had a bubbly, friendly energy about her that endeared her to all of us immediately. 

About a month later Joy came in again. It was really slow so she was talking to all of us who were in that day as she made her deposit. 

We asked her how things were going and she told us that she had quit her residency. It turned out that she hated being a doctor and she didn't want to spend the rest of her life doing something she hated, despite the fact that she had trained for years to do this very thing. 

It was a pivotal moment in her life and she shared it with all of us working that day - openly, honestly and, yes, joyfully. She was truly happy and free as she told us about quitting a job she had worked a third of her life to get. 

Over the next ten months or so we saw Joy every couple of weeks.

She was looking for work. She sold her car. She moved in with a friend. She sold her furniture. 

Through it all I never once heard her express doubt or regret about the decision she had made. She never went back on herself with "shoulds" or "if onlys." She stayed the course. Waiting. Hoping. Searching. 

Last weekend Joy came into the branch for the last time. She was in a hurry. The rental car was in the garage. She was just going to drop some checks in the ATM and then be on her way. But that didn't feel right. So she came in. 

She came in to tell us that she was moving out of state to take her dream job with a company that does talks and retreats with some of the biggest spiritual luminaries of our time.

As she told us about her new job she was full of JOY and I was so happy for her. But also for myself. For all of us. Because she is living proof that if you follow your bliss, follow your guidance - even if the road you take to get there might seem crazy to the outside world - you will end up where you were meant to be all along.

RUBY: Last night I drove my son to Toys R Us to get some Pokemon cards. Pokemon is very big in his world right now and he just really NEEDED some new cards last night. So at 8:30 pm we jumped in the car and headed out. 

As pulled out of the parking lot, I got the feeling that someone needed my help. I had no idea who or what was needed, I just had a feeling. 

I turned onto the street adjacent to the mall and there I saw a man yelling at a woman on the street. She crossed over and he followed her, yelling. She crossed over again and he followed her, yelling at her some more. She headed toward a nearby bus stop, but when she got there he started toward her, yelling. 

I wasn't in a good position to turn around - at a busy four-way stop with a green light - so I zoomed through the light, turned around and waited at the now red light to be able to get back to the bus stop. 

Watching as I waited I saw her once again trying to cross the street to get away from him. Looking both ways I ran the red light and pulled up next to her, rolling down my window and asking, "Do you need a ride?" 

She gave me a quick once over, saw my son in the backseat and jumped in. As we sped away he yelled profanities after us. 

We exchanged the basics: Where are you going? What's your name? 

Then moved onto the obvious: She knew him. It was a mess.   

Then to what we had in common: We both had 9 year-old sons. We both had kids into Pokemon. We both kind of liked to play ourselves. 

After that we rode in silence for awhile as I drove her to her mom's house. 

I don't know how to explain it, but I just feel so grateful that I was able to be there for her in that moment. I feel like she was there for me as much as I was there for her.

As we drove to her mother's together, I could really feel the oneness of all mankind. Even as we talked about him I didn't feel judgmental or angry. I could feel his pain and fear as clearly as I could feel hers. 

It was like I could see deeper into a part of the human experience - what we do to each other in the heat of the moment, in the midst of pain and sorrow and fear. 

It was life and I was glad to be a part of it.