Reasons, Lessons and Hope

Our mental and emotional good health is vital to our physical well being.  One doesn’t go without the other, if we are to be healthy human beings.  I am running a seven-week class on health and wellness.  It’s combining all three elements for a healthy life… healthy mind, body and soul.  The first week we went around and introduced ourselves.

To set a tone for the class I began by telling everyone my story of how I have been slowly transforming my life from an overweight, emotionally drained person to a healthy, happy person.  I wanted people to know that if I can tell my story then they can feel comfortable sharing whatever they wanted.

There was one couple that was there that it became quite obvious in a short time that they had misunderstood what the class was all about.  Essentially they thought they’d learn some good cooking skills.  That was not at all what the class was about nor could the written description of the class be misread to think that.  But things happen for a reason.

It’s been six weeks of classes.  Stacy and Ted (names changed) to my happy surprise had come to each one. But this class we only had two people show up, Stacy and Michelle.  Ted wasn’t there nor any of the others. We all commented in the beginning wondering where everyone was.  I said, “Well, this is what is supposed to be so it’s all good.”  The evening was set up perfectly to have intimate conversation.  It also allowed me to broach the subject of Stacy’s original assessment of the class and where she is at class six.

Stacy admitted that yes, she was surprised by the first class.  Stacy told me her and her partner Ted commented afterwards, “we didn’t realize we were joining a therapy group.”  Michelle smiled and said, “it’s about the mind, body and soul.  It’s all of it.”

I smiled in return glad she understood.  And I said, “yes, and we can’t have one without the other.”  By the end of class I felt that Stacy had really let go of so much that I had sensed holding her back all those weeks.  I was able to show her some techniques of opening her heart that I hope will help her in her personal life…a healthy heart is a healthy body.

No one is without bad thoughts and bad days.  Recently I have been having negative thoughts about young adults.  It was sparked by my son’s consistent attitude of entitlement. He’s 26-years-old and his motto seems to always be, “get as much as I can for as little effort…it’s never my fault and…I am always right.”  Typically I try and remind myself that he’s still growing up and 26 now-a-days is very different than 26 when I was that age.  Well, at least that’s has been how I cope with my worries.

Well, a few weeks back a young man, age 21, began volunteering for my humane society.  He had reached out me via phone to intern with us over the summer.  Since I had only spoken to him by phone, he was in another state at school, I agreed to the internship as long as he proved to work hard.

He began volunteering a few weeks back and he’s been lazy, didn’t show up once leaving me to waste my time waiting for him, came an hour an a half late the next time and not once did I sense a feeling of remorse from him.  Finally I had to be tough with him and when he showed up an hour an a half late the last time I said, “Dave, you signed up to intern.  I assume that you did that to further your learning and use this experience to build your resume.  This is not how you do it.  I can’t possibly give you a referral if you keep this up.”  While he apologized I really felt that it was all lip serve and he just didn’t care a whole lot.  It was as if there was a disconnect.  I see it in my son and I see it in many other young people today.

Thus, the last week I have been having some stinkin’ thinkin’ and I don’t like that much at all.  I have been thinking about my worries for our world’s future.  With so many young people buried in the phones and computers and disconnected from real interactions and so spoiled with material items and coddling from society what will become of us when we get old?  What will become of the world?  I also mulled over, how could I reach out to young people more?  How can I help them realize the value of face-to-face connections and good, old-fashioned hard work?  How can I show them how important it is to be compassionate to others…to the world?

Yesterday my husband Chuck and I and our seven-year-old son Danny stopped in for a quick bite to eat at Einstein Brothers in Libertyville.  The two young men behind the counters were the only two workers that I could see.  We got our food and sat down to eat.

Sipping my coffee I noticed sitting near us was a elderly couple.  I watched as the wife helped to tend to her husband.  He had a cane propped up beside him.  After finishing their food the woman slowly rose and picked up the waste left from their meal and made her way to the garbage to dispose of it as her husband watched.  When she returned she stood by her seat opposite of him as her husband began to prepare the obviously difficult task of getting up.

In that moment the two young men came out from behind the counter and were beside him.  The bigger man with a beard gently smiled broadly and reached out to the old man.  I couldn’t hear what the young man said but the old man answered, “sure, I don’t see why not.”  Then the old man reached out a feeble arm to the young man and ever so gently the young man helped him to his feet.

Once the older man was stable on his feet the thinner young man, also smiling kindly, went to the door just a few steps away and held it wide open for the couple.  Seeing that the old man was stable on his feet the bearded man let go of the old man’s arm and thank you’s were exchanged.  The warmth and compassion in that small exchange was simple yet beautiful.

The universe gives you what you need if you just look for it.  I needed to see hope for our future and I was given a glimpse of a better possible future.  It gave me hope.  A few minutes later I approached the men behind the counter and said, “do you mind me asking how old you are?”  They responded 20 and 21.

“Is that the first time you have helped that customer?”

“Oh no, he’s a regular.  We help him every time.”

“I just want you to know that I saw that and I think it’s just great.  We need young people like you doing more of that because we are relying on you for a positive future.  Thank you for doing that and keep it up.”  I felt it was important to acknowledge their good deed…to reinforce it.  Everyone needs praise.

That experience helped me to realize that the universe continues to give me what I need it.  It gives all of us what we need; we just need to really open our eyes.  Stacy came to my class for a reason and maybe that reason was so that in week six of the class I can help her to learn to open her heart…maybe there are more reasons that are still mysteries, time will tell.

Enjoy your day!

Sandy Kamen Wisniewski