Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Yet, how often do we catch ourselves looking over the fence thinking the grass is greener on the other side? While wishing we were someone else, we lose sight of the treasured gift of our own lives. Sound familiar?
Last December I lost not one but two jobs. All source of income, all monetary source of support of any kind – gone. Now at the end of the day, at the end of my job, (last day on the job, some of you know how that feels!) at the end of the year, and I am at the end of my rope.
When out of the blue, with astonishing accuracy, comes an e-mail from an ex-boyfriend. A fellow not heard from in 30 years, decides to drop by at this critical moment to relay how great life is working in the corporate offices of Mercedes Benz. On and on he brags about driving a brand-new Mercedes every year. His wife drives a brand-new Mercedes. The daughter drives a brand-new Mercedes. Pretty sure the DOG drives a new Mercedes. The dog drives a better car than I do! I drive a La Bomba (that is the make and the model) and no Mercedes in sight!
The more I read, the smaller I feel while comparing my life with his. When we compare, we despair! Always there is the person with a younger wife, a bigger boat, and more Botox.
Trundling home, wishing I were anyone else, a quiet, dark house with a red, flashing light welcomes me. No, not the police, thank God. The red blinking light signals a message from my dear friend, Angelina.
To really understand what comes next in her message, we go back 6 weeks earlier, when I dreamt a terrible dream about my friend. From the dream, I knew something terribly wrong happened. Ever have one of those times when you just know something is wrong?
All in a swivvet the next morning, I am contacting Angelina. All her numbers were disconnected! All known e-mails bounced back! I tried Linked-In, Facebook and even dug out that antiquated artifact they used to call the Phone Book! Nothing worked. The answering voicemail was some guy’s voice. The best I could do was to take a risk and leave a big message of love and hope. Sharing my dream and my concern for my friend, I requested a return call.
In the vast darkness of my house and heart, at a time when I needed a friend the most, I hear the message:
“Christine, you and I must have some kind of connection for you to be dreamin’ of me the way you do. Your message was relayed to me by my now ex-husband…. because I lost my marriage of 25 years. I lost my job of 19. Worst of all, I lost access to my two children… I have lost my children…. because of my alcoholism. The day I locked myself up, the day I walked through those doors of rehab, I had nothing left to go on but your message of love and concern to get me through this last 6 weeks.
They are going to release me in a day or two and I am going to need a friend. I’m so grateful it’s you.” “God bless you, Christine. You are my miracle.”
I hear the message. I STILL hear the message. Again so grateful for my life! So grateful I did not marry the Man from Mercedes! So utterly humbled… humbled something so small and invisible as a message could mean so much to someone I love so dearly.
Gentle reader, here is a message for you, big enough to fill this room and every heart in it. If hearts and minds can be changed through an invisible message – something you cannot touch, taste, or knock on wood – how much more could be achieved, and for the greater good, were we to live in appreciation for the lives we were born to live.
There may come a day when you trundle home, wishing you were someone else. Remember the message: You are more powerful than you realize. Your contributions go farther than you will ever know. Sharing your love and concern may be the unexpected and welcome gift to flagging spirits – particularly in these most desperate times.
As you support someone who “needs a friend,” when you follow the intuition to connect, the echo may be louder than your call, as you hear on the other end of the line, “I’m so grateful, it’s you… So very grateful it’s YOU.”
Ladies and Gentlemen: Be yourself. After all. Everyone else…. is taken.