I like the surprises that don’t come in boxes or bags or gift cards or from independently owned or virtual stores, and definitely not from shopping mall stores. As a rule, I prefer gifts that don’t cost anything at all. Well, actually they do cost something. They cost somebody’s mind, imagination, time and a dash, big and small, of generosity. They involve something personal and chosen and exported from the giver.
An unsuspecting car ride
Recently, one of these sacred gifts was presented while riding n a car. I was on my way to the train station to take public transportation to an airport. A friend who is a few years shy of his 90th birthday, willing offered to drive me to the station. I have a rich connection with this man whom I would never have imagined possible. He is an engineer. I can only spell that word. He is great with details. I could only wish that in my lifetime that I might be a fraction as good with my attention to the physical things around me. He likes order and regiment in his life . The very thought of these suffocates me. He has the little understanding of people who are different from him, and expects others to act and respond as he does and would. He is probably as closed-minded as I have been told that I am not. When it comes to voting, I am sure that our ballots cancel each other. Yet, somehow, the two of us find curiosity and wonder in life. He has taught me to be tolerant of his intolerance. He has opened my mind to discovering and learning in new ways.
Filled to the brim
On the ride to the train station, we got into a passionate conversation about mysticism in mathematics. We were so engrossed in the conversation that he drove me all the way into town to board the airport bus. As I got out of the car, he had a big smile on his face. And me, my heart was filled.
As I now write this, it occurs to me that the day my friend gave me the ride, I discovered one more thing that he and I have in common. We are both visual people and need to see to understand. This makes me think that people who seem so different from us have more in common if we take the time to discover and learn about each other.