A few days ago one of the amazing women I met on Facebook who set her life aside and swooped in to help the mother of seven she adores avoid a nervous breakdown, sent me an email:
Hi Lara I just wanted to say that I am really sorry to read of your brother’s passing. I said a prayer for him and your family at church last night…. And speaking of church, I went last night for the first time in a while and there was a speaker there that reminded me of the message you have in a lot of your writing … especially one of your messages about love and spreading it to people around you. The deacon was preaching about how we are all here together and have the power to make each other’s lives better through so many ways. Really reminded me of your writing! All feelings are mutual. 🙂
I rose early today, rolled out of bed, threw on a huge, oversized hoody, barely brushed my teeth and headed out to a yoga class.
Suffice it to say, I did not look particularly fresh or lovely.
It was during this same teacher’s yoga class in October, in fact, that I had the epiphany that changed my life.
That made me see so clearly what I needed to do to extricate myself from what was keeping me from living a life of joy.
And I have been radiating joy ever since.
And, since then, people have been drawn to me like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
(In fact, one of my opponents this week at work saw fit to kiss me on my head. But that’s a whole nother story.)
My experience in today’s yoga class was no different than the first.
Coldplay’s version of the song In The Sun came on.
May God’s love be with you
May God’s love be with you
I’ve heard the song a thousand times, but never paid attention to the lyrics.
But I did this time.
With my face pressed to my knee and the other leg in the air, I had about 4 more epiphanies that brought me to my knees. Literally. And with a huge smile on my face.
I think I even laughed.
After class, I felt I needed to share my experience with my teacher. I mean, if you teach yoga and it’s changing someone’s life, wouldn’t that be something you’d like to know?
And, now I know, all feelings are mutual.
So, I told him my story. (A very loosely sketched version of it.)
And in telling him my story, it dawned on me that today is Super Bowl Sunday.
And that last Super Bowl Sunday was the day I put on the bear suit and went down to the homeless park to offer up love to anyone who wanted or needed it.
It was the anniversary of the day that I consciously put love into the world.
And made this video to document it.
(Recently, my little boy said to me, Mom, we’ve been studying Greek myths in school. And I’ve decided that you are a god. You are the God of Love!)
After yoga, I headed out to get some coffee and my morning oatmeal and then head home to the kids.
It was raining, so I pulled the hoody tight around my unwashed, sweaty face and hurried to the car with my hands full of oatmeal in one hand and blueberries, nuts and brown sugar, in the other.
As I crossed the street, I saw that the left shoelace of my old, yellowed Adidas shelltop was untied and getting wet. And, while I’ve been nagging my girl ad nauseum lately about making sure her shoes are tied so that she doesn’t trip, I just didn’t have the hands to make it happen.
So I was careful not to step on my shoelace and trip myself.
And then I passed three homeless guys standing under the shelter of the overhang of a garage, and I thought to myself, I wonder if one of them would tie my shoe?
And the vision conjured to mind a modern, secular equivalent of kissing another person’s feet – an act of love, humility, and self-giving in the Christian faith.
A faith I know very, very little about.
And as I passed these three homeless men, one of them, the one in the middle, the one with the dark tattooed face in a hoody, called out to me, “Your shoelace is untied!”
“I know,” I replied. “I’m trying not to trip.”
And then …
“Do you want me to tie it for you?” the homeless man with the dark tattooed face asked me.
The man wearing a hoody tight around his face, just like I was wearing mine.
I stopped and turned around.
I went back over to the three men and said, “You know, that would be great.”
And then I stood there with my hands full of oatmeal as the man knelt down and began to tie my shoe.
His friends teased him by saying something to him like, “You sure you can handle this?”
And I said, “I have every confidence in his ability to handle this.”
He did a beautiful job tying my shoe.
And when he stood up, he looked proud.
Like he knew he had given me a gift.
And maybe it had been a while since he had felt that way.
I looked him in the eyes and said, “Thank you. I really appreciate it.”
“You’re welcome,” he said.
He did not hit on me.
He did not even ask me for money.
Rather, we looked each other in the eyes.
Alive in the same place, at the same time.
Ours was a connection only about connection.
About one person doing an act of kindness – of love – for another.
On this, the anniversary of my going out into the world to give love to the homeless, here I was needing and receiving the same.
To keep me from tripping.
And when I went home, I fixed up my oatmeal and opened the new Rolling Stone magazine to find an article on Pope Francis.
With a quote saying his message is one of reminding the world that “the excluded are still waiting.”
And with a photograph of Pope Francis kissing a tattooed foot of a homeless man.
After a homeless man with a tattooed face – one of the excluded – had just tied my shoelace.
Yes, I thought, as if it hadn’t been clear before.
We are all connected.
All things are connected.
All feelings are mutual.
That is Grace.
I have been collecting these moments of Grace lately.
And as much as it is blowing my frickin’ MIND …
I can feel the truth.
And the truth is, there is nothing else that matters.