A light flashed on my phone. It was another text message. As I glanced down at it I could feel a sense of surprise radiate from deep within my chest. It was from my friend Alan’s assistant asking me to schedule a time to meet.
My surprise was derived from knowledge that Alan has a very heavy business schedule and I had just met with him to discuss business not long ago. At the same time, I looked forward to our expected time together, without knowing the purpose of our reunion.
When I walked into Alan’s office he greeted me warmly and asked me to sit down as he continued to his own chair. Once seated, he warmly said that he had been thinking of me over the past couple of weeks and wanted to see if everything was alright. An opening such as this to a meeting is rare indeed. I couldn’t and can’t think of another time when one of my meetings began in this way. It caused me to stop, take a deep breath and think.
As you know, thinking can happen much more quickly than real time, so I was able to mentally travel to 13 years earlier. At that time, I was facing virtually the same business and life challenges. And, this time? My mind was racing back and forth. I knew the path of this race very well. There was no need to worry about the path because it was so well worn. That is, it was well worn up to this exact point. Now, there was a fork in the road.
The fork in the road offered two paths forward. I asked myself one question. “What did you learn last time?” This one question stopped the race with the past and opened the door to a new path.
I lifted my eyes back to meet Alan.
“I’ve been here before.” I said.
That’s when he reached forward, offered me the book “The Peacegiver” by James L. Ferrell, and told me how reading it changed his life. I reached forward as well and thanked him for his kindness and generosity. I also told him that I’d read it and let him know what I thought.
Well, I’ve been reading it, while walking the unknown path forward. It has changed my experience by offering new insights. I’ve learned a lot, but the thing I wanted to share with you is that reading it has allowed me to see that “I’m late.” Life offered me these same lessons 13 years ago and I chose not to learn what was offered then. So, life gave me the same lesson to learn these many years later.
Now I’m able to see a different light flashing. It isn’t the text message alert on my phone. It’s a notification in my heart. It’s another kind of message. And, I can feel a sense of surprise radiate from deep within my chest. Life itself is asking me to learn something I’ve avoided and needed. At this very moment, my surprise is derived from the knowledge that I’m late. At the same time, I feel a sense of comfort.
Life cares enough about each one of us to continue to offer needed lessons, no matter how late we are!
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.