I witnessed a hit and run last week.
In a span of about 40 minutes, I saw slices of the worst of humanity and the best of humanity. The worst was an angry young man, screaming and cursing at the man whose car he hit. The best was a soft spoken older man, determined to put peace out into the world instead of more anger.
After realizing he was physically OK and calling the police to come, we stood under a large shade tree and talked about humanity and peace and water and reciprocity.
If we do not focus on our peace and put peace out into the world, we cannot ever expect to be filled with peace.
Water purifies and it baptizes and it cleanses and it is a blessing.
We get back what we put into things, and our investment of time or money or peace yields greater time or money or peace in our lives.
It’s amazing how many core beliefs a Muslim man and a Christian woman have in common.
Since that encounter, I’ve been thinking about reciprocity and how what we invest is what we can expect to manifest. At times in my life I have given with the right intentions and a pure heart, and at other times I have given with the secret expectation or hope of getting something specific in return. Perhaps that’s human nature or perhaps I am selfish and superstitious. Or perhaps all of it.
When Audrey was just a few weeks old, I saw a commercial for St. Jude. I don’t remember the content exactly, but it had beautiful little faces and parents with expressions of both hope and worry. What I do remember vividly is exactly where I was standing in my bedroom when I saw that commercial, then sitting down on my bed filled with a feeling of absolute certainty that I saw it at just that moment for a specific reason. And I had a very strong desire to invest in something that helped others, specifically in an area where my child needed help.
I have no idea if that commitment had anything to do with Audrey’s outcome. Logical Beth who consumes data thinks that her doctors knew what they were doing, and giving is not related to healing. Superstitious Beth will not ever stop supporting St. Jude becomes it seems like bad juju/karma/luck. And Christian Beth really wonders sometimes if that decision was a game-changer in the spiritual realm.
I’ve thought about it over and over and over again in the last 8 years – every time I am at CHKD, every time I see a commercial for St. Jude, every time I sow a seed of any kind. Are the things we invest in little seeds we’ve planted for a big harvest later? Is it really that simple? And if it’s that simple, why doesn’t that principle override all others? Is there a seed some folks have sown or not sown that results in sickness within themselves or their families? Why are some people healed while others are not, seemingly regardless of their seeds?
I don’t have any answers. I have only questions that lead to more questions, I have a gut feeling that the seed I sowed that day made a difference somehow in the lives of others and in Audrey’s life, and I have a lingering sense of disappointment in myself for the superstitious parts of me.
Audrey’s annual oncology checkup has a number of traditions. She plays at the big wave on the second floor. She finds her favorite tile – the art project of a bravo kiddo from long ago – and she runs her fingers over the words Hope, Faith and Courage. We walk through the butterfly garden and have some quiet time. We get Starbucks when all of our checks and talks and papers are done.
Loading the pictures to complete the order for my photo album, I really noticed the other tiles in the art display. There’s A Giving Tree and there are flowers. There’s one that says God will make a way where there seems to be no way. There’s another that says Bring People Together. And those brought my mind back to my friend from the hit and run. We parted with smiles and thankfulness, grasping hands and offering blessings.
If we’re open to it, I believe we can find goodness everywhere. If we’re open to it, I believe some of life’s most important lessons come in the time of waiting. Waiting for the police to arrive. Waiting for help. Waiting for a therapy to work. Waiting for healing. Waiting for good news. Waiting for the answers to our prayers.
Or perhaps simply waiting for the seeds we’ve planted to break through the earth.