The bumper sticker on the car next to me read: “We are the people our mothers warned us about.” I slowed down and let the car move past me so I could read it again. The little saying, and warning, made me think.
“Am I a person my mother warned me about?”
Bob Conard’s voice echoed in my heart. “My dear old mother.” Then, after this introduction, he shared with me some of the great advice his mother had given him. His mother is a water-color artist and one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. She’s always been loving, caring and patient, as long as I’ve known her.
I’ll never forget the day Bob showed me one of her emotionally-tugging water-color paintings. The beauty of her work is nearly a perfect reflection of her soul. Both are masterpieces as well as treasures.
I’ve known my friend, Marty Newey, for 42 years and treasure his friendship. He sent me a message a couple of weeks ago and asked me to have lunch with him. I leapt at the chance. A few days later, we met at a comfortable restaurant where we could talk. After all, the real purpose of our lunch was to feed our souls, to re-connect. The food, while delightful, was a simple metaphor of how a soul is fed: Strong personal relationships, deep human connection, are what we all crave.
“My mother says, ‘Everyone wants to be loved and paid attention to,’” Marty told me as we talked after lunch.
Then he told me how an employee of his mother’s assisted living home came to her apartment to meet with her.
“She walked into my mother’s place and my mother burst out with, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen!’” Marty said. “They spent a few minutes together and when the case worker walked out and began to pass me she said, ‘If your mother ever needs a place to live, please have her come and live with me!’ My mother pulled me aside and said, ‘Compliment other people as much as possible!’ She does and the impact is amazing!”
I laughed, because his story was amazing! In the end, Marty and I hugged each other as we parted. Our stomachs and our souls were full, recharged, so we could go out and make a difference in the world again.
I felt at peace as I drove to my next meeting, until I saw the bumper sticker on the car. But then I chose to let the peace come back.
“Think of the wonderful people we’d be if we simply followed the advice and lives of Bob’s and Marty’s mothers!” I thought.
If we did, the bumper sticker instead would say, “We are the people our mothers hoped we’d become!”
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.