Last Thursday morning I left for San Francisco to visit my dear friend Wendy who is in UCSF as a result of a level 4 aneurysm. This was to be my 5th visit and to be honest, my heart was heavy. While my previous 4 visits had not been bad - there had not been any change in her condition in 3 weeks. As I drove my mind wandered through every unresolved area of my life . huh . my self-assessment was not pretty.
Last week was strange, and not so much that I could put my finger on anything other than an overwhelming sense of endings - without the presence of hope for what is yet to come. This is a strange place for me to go mentally and spiritually. Those who know me know that I am the cheerleader - it is rare for me not to be able to spin
light into any given situation but driving to the city that day, I could not spin any light into my own heart.
So I drove and thought and prayed out loud. Out loud, without embarrassment or shame asking for help, praying for that ray of light to shine back in my heart - please before I get to the hospital!
The bridge was busy and a little chaotic, I always feel relieved to stop for a second to hand over my bridge fare. When I stopped and looked to hand over my money I was greeted by the sweetest face. An older Asian man who radiated warmth reached out to take my money and all at once I felt that light shine into my heart - there I was! That is me! With great relief I smiled at him and wished him a Merry Christmas, he had no idea what he had triggered in me, just by being him! He didn't do or say anything profound, he was simply there being himself. He seemed genuinely happy to have received my wish for a Merry Christmas and the circle was complete. I drove away amazed at the power of love.
A couple miles further I get to the tunnel heading to 19th Avenue and that voice, God bless that voice in my head, said to me, "That's all you have to do, is just bring you. Just show up and smile, that is your gift." Why, that is just too easy! Just smile? Just show up? Just show up and smile? I can do that! I get it now! My gift in the world is not what I do, it is who I am, wow.
Someone told me recently that love is not about effort, love is not a task. It is not about what you do or don't do, it simply is. Until that morning at the toll plaza I didn't fully understand how simple and beautiful that is. Just show up and smile. It made me realize that I have been working way to hard! Literally doing tasks that I felt earned me love, where did that come from? And you know, it doesn't matter where it came from. What matters is that I can now let it go.
I arrived at the hospital and was a little sad to see Wendy was still intabated, I had heard that was coming out the day before but no matter, she could open her eyes and obviously recognized me - YAY!!! Shortly after arriving the nurse came in to say they were going to remove the nasty breathing tube that had been in her throat for over 3 weeks! They told me I could come back in 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes later her 2 sisters had arrived with her niece. Wanda and Becki went in first to see Wendy without her tube. Shortly after Wanda came back to the waiting room concerned that Wendy said that she couldn't see her and didn't know her! What?
She wanted me to go in and see what I thought. I thought it was funny she would ask me rather than the nurse or doctor but OK! I walked into the room into Wendy's field of vision and said "Hi Honey! I'm here, it's Julie can you see me?" Guess what I got? The sweetest and most beautiful smile I have ever seen! Followed by tears of joy. My friend is awake, smiling, trying to sit-up, trying to talk. Bless her sweet heart and thank God. My heart soared with joy, with love and with gratitude.
Remember the most important part of your wardrobe, is your smile. I wish you many blessings of joy and love today and all days, and I am smiling at you. ;)