Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three Gifts

Just as I was about to leave for the evening, I caught his glance. A lonely figure resting in his wheelchair, Richard looked as if he could use some company. He did. 

Listening to Richard's speech, I stuck to my intention to stay present for him, no matter what. That I could not make sense of his speech was besides the point. More important was letting him know that I was willing to hang in there with him. Richard kept on talking. There was mention of him being in an ashram. Oh! yes the ashram . . . I repeated empathically, remembering his past as a spiritual teacher and his many travels to India. He smiled, then resumed his disordered discourse. Just when I was starting to tire, Eddy the housekeeper came to clean Richard's spot on the dinner table. And I heard, loud and clear, Richard's "thank you". Eddy kept on with his job, unfazed. I thought to myself, "wow!"

When it was time to end, I thanked Richard for the gift of our time together. And I got a second surprise. "Yes, this was very special. Thank you." Richard took my hand and pulled it to his face. "I have fear." That was all he could get out, before drowning again into a stream of made up words. 

Driving home, I got yet another surprise. In my heart, this time. Feeling so completely whole, and at peace.


  1. Wow - what a great story! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Thank you David. Stories like this happen every day with people like Richard. All that's needed is the willingness to be present, and listen with the heart, and patience. It is an immense tragedy that the world at large does not take the time and misunderstands.

  3. Yes it is. One could become deeply saddened by reflecting on all the suffering that our human race causes and ignores. Which makes stories like these so precious.

  4. I was watching, once again, Ram Dass' Fierce Grace, his film about his stroke and his teachings. I wonder, is this the Richard of whom you speak? If not, or if so, what a funny chance that I should stop by here after seeing the film.

    I take care of my 76 year old mother who has Parkinson's. Being present for her is such a gift to me - her eyes light up, she thanks me in her soft whispering speech, and she leans into my touch. I am discovering an even deeper love for her than I could have ever imagined.

    Watching Richard last night tell his story was such a mind blow -- it happens ever time I see the film. It cracks me wide open.

  5. Different Richard, Tara (actually a made up name to protect's person's privacy . . . )

    I am so glad you are open to receive your mother's gifts.

    Thank you for sharing.