One doesn’t have to go far to find a teacher, an inspiration, or even a mentor. Sometimes those folks come right to you. And, when they do it only takes a moment to realize there’s something magically important in that union. Today I had the blessings of meeting Charlie.
I was heading out of my driveway when he was pulling right in. He quickly backed out into the street, I lowered my passenger window and asked if he needed anything and he said he had some questions about a property with a pond. I told him he had arrived to the right place. I pulled in front of him and parked on the front lawn. He got out of his car, he introduced himself as Charlie, and I smiled widely saying that was a name that definitely suited him. When he shook my hand I felt a bolt of something that put me at ease.
Charlie is a veteran. He was in the Marines. He is alive because “I am just not finished yet even though twice in this life I should have been dead.” He is interested in our property. He loves the pond. He needs water, he told me. He needs to do projects. I explained that this entails a lot of work. “I am not married, I have no children, I got no job, I need to keep busy. I am disabled and I need to find something to do that will help me get a business started to get insurance again for all that I have wrong with my body.” He continued to share he had worked for Chrysler for 15 years and a drunken man on a forklift mangled him up. He should not be here. He was busted in half, head severed, spine damaged and detached… He went on some details that I cringed and kinda made a facial expression that let him know I really couldn’t hear it all. He smiled. He moved quickly with his story…from one venture to another.
Charlie told me, “I love life. I love what comes next. I am here for reason.” He’s done a lot in his life and this place would make him do even more to keep moving forward. “I can’t get those operations the doctors want from me. I would be in a wheelchair so the secret is to keep going. As long as I move it can’t hold me down. That’s my secret.” I wish I had a tape recorded. The man said so many wise things that I cannot remember them all. But, I needed to hear them. I needed to hear his triumphs, his declines, his obstacles and his dreams. I needed to hear his heart opening up like it does in this place for so many. It’s always such assurance to have someone walk this mystical property and start providing intense and intimate information about themselves. Charlie was not exempt from this either.
He smiled a few times, commenting on my energy. Who could tell Charlie has a thing for “energy” or how it flows and connects? He walked the property way to the back woods. He stood and spoke to me for a long while. He’s had many lives in one breath and many moments in one second. This man has been a hero, endured pain, helped many and just cares a lot for humanity. I saw it in his blue eyes. I heard what wasn’t said coming from under his hat. I felt the loss (while staring at his pin with our flag), the gains and those things in between us that can either make us or break us if we let them take us.
I have entertained many in this place. I have had the pleasure of learning stories upon sagas of beauty, courage, compassion and tragedies. I needed Charlie today. I had just returned from drinking coffee in Asheville with the homeless woman, Pablina (featured in another article) who has stolen a piece of my heart. Today when I sat with her sharing pastries she wasn’t there. I made her laugh. She was far off in the depth of a forgotten sea. She was nowhere in the shallow ends able to meet me and speak. But I hugged her, made her laugh out loud with my silliness, and told her I would be back sometime next week. She couldn’t speak. The haze in her eyes let me know today was not a good day. I understand…Charlie, however, made up for that silence. He said all the things she couldn’t and more.
We are all here connecting one soul to another like Lego blocks: sideways, upward, and onward while creating structures and pillars that hold each other up. That’s what we are! We love and forgive and move on waiting for the next soul to put a little Lego into the next…creating a world of compassion and kindness.
Thank you, Charlie. I hope you are reading this since I gave you the card. Your presence today was a light shining the way with hope. Keep lighting the way!