Today has been a wonderful day filled with so many of gods faces. So great. Really, the benefit of not bringing your story with you into every experience you have is soooooo massive. I was speaking to Rosa recently about how I have found myself to be someone who literally doesn’t bring anything with me when I come a situation – no personal history, no heavy story. Sometimes, I might get it out to show someone something to help them out but I’d not go airing my dirty washing, I’d rather clean it or bin it. Here’s one such example of me getting my personal history out to show you something in the hope that you might benefit from it.
Today, I had an opportunity to recognise the extent of the benefit of not bringing ones heavy personal history along into every situation. In each happening that occurred this evening, with no heavy story filtering how I saw things, I was able to meet things squarely as they were. Not only that but I was able to support my wife in the way that she needed and to encourage a different approach to the situation which defused unnecessary sacrifices and difficulties. Here is a little tale from our day all about “travelling light” through life.
After spending a good 6/7 hours working on some DIY projects for our home, we decided (as the kitchen is still a wreck given that we still have to finish our projects and that we were tired out after working on this stuff all day) that we wanted to have the “quick and lazy” option for dinner. As we didn’t have any money in the house, we drove to the nearest pizza place. After ordering the pizza we began to drive to Subway. Rosa wanted a sub instead of a pizza so we ordered a smaller pizza for me and headed to Subway.
On the way there, one of the back wheels of the car began to made quite a loud sound. Pulling over to inspect it revealed that the rubber casing of the tyre had worn down and split. It seemed that it was likely to have happened sooner or later as it must have been wearing down for some time. It was grace that it happened when we were out together rather than when Rosa was driving around by herself visiting family or the like. We pulled into a car-park off the busy dual-carriageway and phoned Rosa’s mum to see if they knew someone who could come out to us and help. They offered themselves as Rosa’s Mum’s partner has the tools we needed.
We sat in the car for five/ten minutes in silence, focusing on our breath as it flowed into and out of our bodies. After a short while it was time to head back to the pizza place to collect the pizza. We locked the car up and walked about five minutes in the direction we had come from to get the pizza. At this point, no panic or worry or anxiety had arisen in me. There was a gentle peace pervading. With each development up until this point and for the whole time after two words continued to arise for me, “this too.” In reference to the apparent reality that each unique form in this changing world of things, each of these unique things is another face of God. Each is in itself an object of mindfulness not a distraction from it or a reason to postpone it. Each time these words arose, I spoke them out loud to share them with Rosa.
We got back to the car, I munched down a piece of warm pizza (yum) and set the box on the dashboard for later. We sat again for several minutes in silent appreciation of the moment. The cool breeze provided a lovely alternative to the colder-than-normal-but-warm-for-an-Englishman humid night air. The consistent air-like sound of cars rolling their wheels along the nearby dual-carriageway. The softness of the breath as it flowed in and out.
We opened our eyes and looked at each other. I smiled and said, “this too.” As I finished, the phone rang. It was Rosa’s Mum telling us that there was a spare tyre in the boot of the car but that the boot itself was jammed and wouldn’t be opening any time soon. The question as to the last time it had been opened and for what reason crossed my mind.
We opened the back doors, bent down, pulled forward the back seats of the car and were presented with a boot filled to the brim with old picture frames, clothes, fake plastic flowers, forsaken hats, old kids toys and the like (not to mention a few vagabond maverick Christmas tree decorations).
We began to sift through the old stuff. It was like going through the damp attic of that one stinky aunt who everyone loves for the nice biscuits she always seems to have but nobody goes anywhere near her house unless they have to because of her notorious collection of tat which lines the walls on innumerable shelves from floor to ceiling. The thought of the criteria for the stuff she didn’t display on shelves in her house makes one shudder.
Total loving acceptance arose as I cast the light of my phone about and we began to move things out of the boot and onto the pavement.
Not long after we reached the tyre buried beneath the collection of strange and wonderful artefacts stashed in the boot which evoked both fascination and concern in equal measure, Rosa’s Mum and her partner arrived to help us.
Fast forwarding past the temporary replacement wheel being secured, a brief but albeit unnecessary trip to a car garage to try and get a new tyre, the discovery that the garage didn’t have the tyre we needed and that the nearest supermarket didn’t stock them either (at least at a price that anybody present was willing to pay). There was also a brief mix-up with the serial number of the tyre we needed and a Japanese restaurant but I’ll skip all of that in favour of keeping the story on-point. Rosa’s mum and her partner were concerned for us and, as with most of us who have been brought up thinking we are somebody and then continue believing it for years thereafter, they were growing more fed up by the second. They devised the best plan they could think of which caused Rosa’s Mum’s partner to be put out and much more tired than he already was (no pun intended). The weight of the personal stories present got so heavy that panic had begun to ensue.
Rosa and I spoke for a minute and I advised a more assertive approach to the situation. She agreed and applied my advice. That defused the difficulties that were taking root and pretty soon we said our ‘thank you’s to Rosa’s mum and Antonio and were on our way back. We didn’t get the tyre replaced but we were heading home. We were moving slower than usual because of the replacement tyre being a bit too small for the car. But we were heading home.
As we drove, we discussed the events of the night. I shared an insight with Rosa which arose for me. “It seems that whatever we do, we are never exempt from karma.” And as I said the word “karma” a car zoomed past us, the driver honking the horn in frustration at our speed or lack thereof. We both laughed at the beauty and the grace.
As it turned out, the choice of dinner was neither quick nor did it allow us to be lazy in any sense of the word. But it was great nonetheless.
When we arrived home, I confessed that not once did I get upset at all. “In fact,” I told my wife, “I had fun.” It all just unfolds as it does. It’s all God’s many faces. Each with grace and love inherent. So full of love actually that they are empty of meaning. Empty so that we can fill whatever it is to the brim with our own interpretations and meaning. Is there any greater act of love than to be empty – totally empty.