Updated: Jun 22, 2022
Traveling is a great way to welcome new opportunities. Yes, if we are lucky, we can see some beautiful places and meet new people, but we also have the chance to experience feeling out of sorts, which gives us new perspectives on life. This chalk drawing gave me hope that all would be well during a bit of a scary time. I am getting ahead of myself. Let's go back in time so you can understand the full story.
I am visiting Boulder, Colorado for the first time. The mountains, streams and wild beauty within and surrounding this vibrant city are inspiring. The Airbnb I am staying at is in a residential area, which is a walk away from mountain hiking trails on one side and on the other side, a shopping center with delicious restaurants and even a Whole Foods Market. There is a bus station nearby which will take me all over the city for just $6 a day. My best friend from fourth grade also lives here and we are enjoying spending time together. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Today, my plan is to take the bus to the downtown library.
Because of some really helpful people yesterday, I had the correct amount of cash to purchase a day pass and got on at the right spot. I asked the bus driver which stop to get off for the Boulder Library. He didn't know where the library was, so I looked on my phone to figure out the closest street. Distracted by the beautiful mountains and experiencing confusion because of being in a new place, I rushed when getting off the bus, completely forgetting the little lunch cooler I had packed. It held the most delicious lunch made with organic ingredients: spelt bread, avocado and cheddar cheese sandwich, 2 apples and a chocolate, almond Kind bar. Plus, I had two thrift store mugs to give my best friend and her partner who just moved into a new apartment together.
Oh dear, how could this be happening? I was hungry and so looking forward to eating before getting to work writing in the library. I stayed calm and figured if I just waited at the bus stop across the street, I could catch it on the loop back and hopefully the cooler would still be there. I would like to say I had faith all would be well, but I ran the gamut of emotions internally, from dismay, to disappointment to anxiety, to reserved optimism. I recognized how excited I was to eat the yummy lunch and give my friends this heart felt present, which wasn't expensive but was just so daggone cute. I had enough money to buy myself lunch, because thankfully I didn't leave my backpack on the bus, which was a comfort. I thought of Tosha Silver's book, "Its not your money" and thought, "Its not my lunch or gifts". I noticed the homeless people gathered in the park across the street and begging near the intersections. I recognized how extremely challenging their lives must be, never having a stable home base or knowing where their next meal might come from. I hoped if someone took the cooler, that they enjoyed and appreciated it all. I was grateful to have a shady spot to sit and wait for the SKIP bus to return. I wondered how homeless people keep their faith that all will be well when challenges arise and looked down to see these chalk drawings:
Some person I don't even know has shared peace, infinite love and happiness with me when I needed it the most. Oh wow, here comes the SKIP bus: woohoo! I go on board and see a driver I am not familiar with and ask him if he stayed on the same bus all day or switched off. He said they kept the same bus and suggested I wait for the next one. The next one was another driver who didn't recognize me and said probably not the next bus, but the one after that would be the one I was on. This was really helpful because when I didn't recognize the next driver, I kept my hopes up for the upcoming bus being the one. And don't you know, but the next bus had my driver and lunch cooler by the front and a really sweet woman who was excited to tell me she found it.
I burst into song "Reunited and it feels so good"! No I didn't actually, but wish I had. I did offer lots of smiles and thank yous to the driver and rescuer, then hustled to the library, walking by several homeless people camped out under the bridge and one sleeping at the entrance. Even though I was feeling out of kilter in an unfamiliar city, at least I had a safe place to sleep at night. I used their bathroom, before sitting on an amazing carved marble bench by the creek. What a relief and joy to be able to use a bathroom, sit on a bench and eat my gourmet lost and then found lunch! I saved an apple and Kind bar, placing them beside the sleeping man at the library entrance. I had been close to losing the lunch I made, which threw me off balance. Imagine how this man feels, not even having a safe place to live.
As I sit inside the warm, quiet library built on either side and above a creek writing, here is what I see to the left, then right:
As I watch people pass by, some walking, running, scootering or biking, I notice a man struggling to lift his shopping cart filled with his belongings up onto the sidewalk from the dirt path. He helps his friend lift his shopping cart up, being careful of his friend's dog. He takes out his scooter and pulls his cart along, while his friend and dog follow him down the sidewalk then across the bridge. Love is what I witness. Even when times are hard, these people are being kind to each other and their animal friends.
Just this window into a few hours of travel was filled with a wide range of emotions, from anxiety to celebration, to witnessing people struggling, to witnessing love despite challenge.
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