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Coming of Age Creative Nonfiction Inspirational

GRATITUDE ILLUMINATED

Thanks, A Lot...Ugh...and Wow...my thankfulness for this life lesson is deep and everlasting.

This Thanksgiving time of year is dedicated to reminding us to be grateful. Grateful for family, friends, and even life lessons.

Each of us as humans are complex creatures. Some of us are just passing through life without any thoughts outside of existing or surviving the daily grind. Many of us are cruising through life believing we already know the all 'stuff' that gets us to the end result.

Then there are those that search. Searching for the daily signs of universal wisdom, they pay more than the usual amount of attention to the lives and happenings around them. still, others are the wise, dispensing the wisdom.

When we think of wise individuals, we generally think of old professor types in classrooms lecturing to bored youth, or we see old men in bars sharing stories of their glory days. Some even think of old women at the salon giving advice to younger women.

Rarely do we envision wisdom coming from a random incident.

The average human, in their complexity, may not even realize that they are desiring love, compassion, and justice, but yet wholeheartedly wish to impose our own justice onto those that offend us. 

We often wish for 'vigilante justice' or other slightly bad things to happen to people, even when we haven’t given them a fair trial, or learned their motives for the perceived slight. 

Cultures around the world have developed curses and spells to mete out justice. A humorous song from many decades ago wished for camel fleas to infest the offender. I still laugh about that idea!

We desire for ourselves love, kindness, and forgiveness from others, yet we wish all manner of punishment on the World’s inhabitants.

I believe all that is needed to change this behavior is a moment of illumination or an Epiphany. A divinely inspired realization that our thought process, while common for humans is less than generous to our fellow Travelers in this existence. 

Some of us receive the epiphany from serendipitous moments like mine…

Several years ago I was driving down a Las Vegas, Nevada surface street to avoid heavy freeway traffic. It wasn’t much better, but it was moving between stoplights. In the summer heat, any movement is a blessing to keep cars and people from overheating.

Anyone that has lived in a hot dry environment with steaming asphalt and heavy traffic will verify that the summer heat can really bring out the worst in people. I’ve never been an angry driver, or prone to road rage…however…I was quite often one to wish for a mild flat tire, or a police officer with a ticket pad when I felt someone was taking advantage of the law of the road. 

This particular day I was behind a middle-aged man in a bright red convertible sports car. He was weaving between all three lanes, cutting dangerously close to other vehicles and always ending up right back in front of me at the next traffic light. 

Torn between laughing at the driver’s lack of forward movement, and snickering about other sports car compensating stereotypes, and oh yes, wishing for that policeman, I yielded space to an old man in a beat-up pickup truck. 

It was one of those old work-style trucks. Dented fenders, bent doors, the white paint on the truck was oxidized. Where it wasn’t oxidized it was peeling, revealing the rusted metal underneath. I figured he’d owned the truck since it was new, and perhaps even lived in it some of the time. There was a tilted old camper on the back, barely supported by its frames, there was duct tape around the window and the gas can rack was held on by bungee cords. My first thought was that poor thing will tip over onto someone if the driver takes a tight turn. After taking in all the ugliness of the truck and with the light again changing to red, there were also faded paintings of religious images on the sides. 

While I was breathing my gratitude for my five-year new vehicle and thinking that “there but for the Grace of God, go I” …I saw a clear image on the back of his camper.

What struck me, CHANGED MY LIFE, and my attitude, was the unsolicited knowledge on the doors of his truck’s camper. Something so simple, yet so striking that my reality froze while my subconscious processed it.

On the left side, in fresh paint and beautiful script were these words in Spanish, “Le Deseo Doble Todas Las Que Se Desea Para Los Demas.” 

I have lived in the Southwest of the United States most of my life, yet sadly, I have only learned small bits of Spanish. 

Just as my traffic frustrated mind was about to wish him some sort of light justice, I decided (perhaps in an intuitive nod to the gift I was about to receive) to wish instead that he would translate that for me…

It was at that exact second I noticed the right-hand door, also in fresh paint and beautiful script, these English words that I have since learned WERE the translation I had wished for…

"I wish you Double ALL that You wish for others."

I let that sink in…this old man was making a wish for me…for double ALL that I wished for others. 

ALL. That is a heavy wish. 

What was I going to do with this information? Was I going to bury it in the memory banks with a polite nod when I passed his vehicle? 

I had never wished severe bad luck on anyone, just what I felt was justice. At that moment I realized double justice could be quite severe. 

I sat at that traffic light, practically crying behind that beautiful ugly old truck, and I decided this was the moment my life changed. 

My Epiphany. The search for human kindness, would also sometimes be a search for my own kindness. To accept that justice is not for me to determine. 

The journey that started right then and there, was to make good wishes for others regardless of the circumstances. To always remember the moment I realized I could no longer go backward. I could not wish unkind events to others as now there was a wish on me, for double.

I wish you gratitude, I wish you thankfulness,

I wish You Double,

All that you wish for others.

November 20, 2021 16:28

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1 comment

Tati Ana
18:51 Nov 27, 2021

I think I got struck in the middle too :) True, we’re all humans, and there’s no difference between a bloody murderer and the sweetest person ever. Neither can judge the other for their faults... At one point in my own life, I simply decided to give it all to the Lord. Only Him knows what to do with us, since He is the one who created us, and thus has all rights—even if ofc, the Man is still in control of his own choices. But choices also mean consequences, hence the Law, be it The Lord’s or ours. I just try to live my life to the fulle...

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