I meet a lot of people. It’s what I do as part of my living. All day, every day, I have a bunch of “first dates” with people to see if we’re on the same wavelength and would be a proper fit for one another.
Half the time we are. Half of that time we hug and kiss before our two hours are up.
This was one of those times.
As I approached her house I saw her watering the side yard…garden, rather, looking A.M. frumpled and generally care-free.
“Ahn-draaaaaay-uh!”(with a long rolled ‘R’) “This way! This way! It’s back here.”
‘Back here’ was through a lush and loved garden; colorful, textured, and anchored by a massive and winding ipé ramp.
Her daughter was legally blind with cerebral palsy.
“My daughter stays here sometimes and she’s uncomfortable; she thinks people can see her. No one can, but it’s important that she feels safe.”
I’ve worked with a blind person only once before…years ago…and they weren’t born blind (and neither was the daughter), so it was easy to describe their options and let their memory and imagination take over. Plus there’s the whole tactile element of the process. There was a lot more touching of the materials than usual in both instances and this drove a large part of the decision making.
When all was said and done, mother was ecstatic. “Look at how much joy you have given my daughter! You are a true blessing being able to use your talents and vision to help people. I am SO happy we met with you today.”
I don’t hear that often.
Throughout the consultation, she was also very appreciative and inquisitive. “How old are you?”
Answer. “Wow! You’re so young for knowing so much! Really? Really? You must really love what you do. I can tell. Not everyone gets to use their gifts. It’s so amazing that you found something you love at such a young age…and you actually make a living doing this?” Answer. “That’s wonderful! How wonderful! You are so good at what you do. You are so special.”
Only a week before I was having the exact OPPOSITE conversation with Mr. Rich, who constantly voices how behind I am for my age and how my talents and skill set are going completely unused.
I felt like crying.
I don’t care whether someone supports me or doesn’t support me, just the fact that I trigger a response makes me want to cry. People care. Someone’s meeting someone for the first time and they already care…they are proud of that person or want them to be better…they are feeling something (or at least act like they are) and feel it strongly enough to share it with that person who only hours before was a total stranger. That’s a massively huge, beautiful, and inspiring thing.