Thursday, April 10, 2008
You Might Be Surprised
(Chicago) I had an unusual 45 minutes or so in what I thought would be a normal cab ride last night from O’Hare Airport to a downtown hotel here.
I struck up a conversation with the cab driver. After a few minutes of conversing in our very different dialects, he asked me why I was in town. I told him I was here to speak at a conference. He asked me what subject I spoke about.
So I told him and gave him my view on life and told him a few of my stories from the perspective of a small town undertaker. He was listening and then began asking me questions. And before I knew it he was telling me his life story. The cab driver told me about his mother who only paid attention to him as a kid only when he was in trouble. He explained to me that he did not have good role models when he was growing up. He told me he now had a family of his own and how difficult it is to balance driving a cab and spending time and providing for his family. He said he could not give them all they needed. It was an emotional conversation and amazingly he poured his heart out to this perfect stranger in his cab. And I have to tell you when we pulled up at the hotel last night I hated to get out of the car. I had this thought that I would never see this cab driver with tears in his eyes again. And I’m sure I won’t.
But for 45 minutes I gave him my best shot. And I have no doubt he appreciated the 45 minutes we had. I got the feeling our heartfelt conversation was a bright spot in his day yesterday … and maybe his week or month. And maybe even his life.
A few weeks ago I was on a plane and was talking with a guy sitting next to me. A lady in front of us, who happened to be an anesthesiologist, turned around and joined in the conversation. (This was on the Smothers Brothers flight I wrote about a few weeks ago). I got both their addresses before I left the plane and sent them both one of my books a few days later when I got back home. Last week I got a note from one of my new friends. She told me how much she enjoyed the book and went on to say meeting me and reading my book was a blessing because just before meeting me her fiancé had been killed in a tragic accident.
The point is you never know what the people we meet by chance everyday are going through. But then again maybe the meetings are not by chance. Maybe in the big scheme of things encounters like these are orchestrated. A God who put the stars in the sky and orchestrated the universe could certainly put people in the right place at the right time.
But the truth is we probably miss most of opportunities because it is easier for us to just keep to ourselves and avoid the people who God puts in our path. Or maybe we feel we don’t have anything to offer.
The truth is anybody can offer a word of encouragement. I am convinced people don’t need a lecture or a well intended lesson on living life. They just need a real life story and a listening ear. And everybody has real- life stories they can share that have the potential to touch another person and give hope to someone who has lost theirs.
Keep your eyes and ears open and live by intention. You might be surprised at what you find. And the blessings you get in the process.