Growing up connected to the feelings of others cultivated a sentimental heart in me which has always looked for ways to show my love intimately. One year around Mother’s Day, I had a strong desire to send something special to my mother and to my sister who lived five hours away. I always took pride in selecting the perfect gifts for the people I loved, no matter if I could afford them. Gifts were a way for me to articulate the intimacy of how much I cared. As a full time student living alone, it was a struggle to make ends meet as a lunch-time waitress. It was because the gifts were born out of personal sacrifice that I thought the gifts would mean so much more.
There was a precious stone jeweler next to the restaurant who made beautiful one-of-a-kind gemstone necklaces of aquamarine, amethyst, peridot, quartz, and pearl. I often admired the jewelers sparkling creations displayed in the window, feeling the lure of the stone’s healing and empowering properties. I never did purchase one for myself regrettably. But I was thrilled when I was able to buy one for my mother and one for my sister before Mother’s Day that year.
I spent three hours using my intuition to sense what necklace would be the perfect match for each. When my final decisions were made, the jeweler carefully wrapped the jewelry in boxes and bows and finished them with a signed card. The experience gave me a deep sense of satisfaction to know that soon, my family would know how special they were to me, even from across the miles. They were the prettiest gifts I had ever been able to give.
A chivalrous friend met me for lunch and carried the bag as we walked towards the beach in search of a place to eat. We enjoyed lunch overlooking the turquoise blue ocean and found ourselves strolling along the sunny boardwalk afterward. Twenty minutes later, a sudden lightening bolt of fear shot through me as I realized, the bag was missing! “We must have left it at the restaurant” he said. But we hadn’t. We traced every step and the bag had disappeared. The worst part, was that I did not have the five hundred dollars to replace them before Mother’s Day.
Instead making my friend feel bad or myself, I decided to ask the universe to bless someone else who really needed it.
A few years later as I was exhaustively finishing my degree and ending my fine dining career, I found myself energetically depleted and wondering when I would ever get to experience a life filled with connection and meaning. Around 4pm, I drove to the Ft Lauderdale Beach to be soothed by the peacefulness of nature and the soft sounds of families and children playing. I buried my hands in the warm sand and sat looking out at the golden shimmering lights, dancing off the calm teal blue water. There were clusters of families and friends playing ball, relaxing, and swimming. The sights and sounds of enjoyment around me would have usually allowed me to sense my connection to the greater whole. But the loneliness and despair ran so deep that it made me feel even more alone. “God,” I cried out in silence, “if you are with me, please help me to know that I am not alone and that you care. Please help me to feel that you are with me and that I am loved.”
Just then I felt something in the sand, a small hard object sitting just beneath my finger. I picked it up, it was a tiny solid gold charm which simply read, “I love you”.
Over and over again, experiences have shown me that there is a greater force at work in the intelligent tapestry of life. That when we perceive loss, we often are not aware of it’s ability to become another person’s blessing who might have greater need. I like to imagine how much those necklaces might have meant to someone else. Maybe they became a blessing for a mother who was sick or a son who never had the money to show such love. I’m sure whoever lost that “I love you” charm, experienced an emotional loss of someone’s precious gift too. But look at how it was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. There are things in the orchestration of life that we could never possibly know.
Sometimes when we experience loss, we can not see beyond our pain. But if you expand beyond the perception of loss, you will find that there is universal love in everything. Just like when we are standing too close to a tapestry, we can not see it’s illustrated story. We are much the same, we can not see the magnificence and perfection of the universal symphony supporting and nurturing all Life. The moments of our lives are like tiny pixelations which obscure the sight of the broader picture. In order to catch a glimpse of the wisdom of life, we have to back up from the smallness within in and set our gaze upon the infinite benevolence which uses all things.