Yesterday a woman told me a beautiful story, so moving that I just have to share it with you. She is in her eighties and I was having a chat with her about life. She has had a tough few weeks and was telling me about it with such a sweet, soft heart. She inspired me and hopefully she will continue to inspire you today..
Long time ago she was married to a man. They didn't have the best marriage and ended in a sad divorce. She didn't want any contact afterwards, even though he really wanted to stay friends. She was too hurt. They both moved on, got new partners and never saw each other again. Then about 6 months ago, Lucy (let's call her Lucy here) went to a cafe and guess who she saw there after 45 years? Yup, her ex. She was baffled. They turned out to have been living 1 kilometer apart for all this time and he said that he had been looking for her for years and years. Of course he didn't find her or her phone number, as she had taken on the name of her new husband. He convinced her to give him her phone number, so they could talk some time soon about all that had happened. After much thinking, Lucy wrote her number on a napkin, still not sure whether she wanted to see him again.
Three weeks passed and she didn't hear a thing, no phone call, nothing. Then in the fourth week she went to the doctors, her appointment was at 10am. And who walks out of the doctors office at 10am? Yup, again: her ex. Let's call him Paul. Now, I don't believe in coincidence and neither did they. The doctor was running late, so they sat down and chatted for a bit. The last digit of her phone number turned out to have fallen off the napkin, so as much as Paul had tried calling her.. the number didn't work. He convinced Lucy to come to his birthday party. His husband had passed away recently, just as Lucy's husband, and from here onwards they started seeing each other occasionally, just as friends.
Both of them were lonely after the passing of their husbands, but Lucy still was hurt from all those years ago. Paul kept asking for forgiveness and she slowly opened up her heart to him. They went to the cinema, theatre, went shopping and talked on the phone every morning and evening. A beautiful friendship grew in the next few months and Lucy found compassion for her ex. He had also lost the love of his life, he was feeling lonely too. She was no longer hurt by the past and opening up her heart to him allowed her to finally truly heal.
Then only two weeks ago they were meant to go shopping. They spoke that morning on the phone and were meant to have a day out together. But Paul didn't arrive at the spot where they were meant to meet. Lucy had appointments which she had to attend, so she had to leave the agreed spot eventually. At dinner time when she returned home, she called him and he didn't pick up the phone. Something felt off, so she went to his house. No one was opening the door and she asked the neighbor to open the door with a spare key. And there they found Paul.. he was in his chair and had passed away that day, just around the time that they were meant to meet.
Lucy was sad about Paul passing away, but you know what the most beautiful thing was? She saw it all from the most loving perspective. She said he had passed away knowing that she would come looking for him. That their friendship over the past five months allowed him to die not feeling lonely and that it helped both of them through an intense time of grief. That if she had never seen him again, they both would've died with painful memories of the past. But because she has opened her heart to him, forgave him and was able to heal her past stories, she now has beautiful memories of him and looks back on a beautiful friendship. He had been looking for her for 45 years and now that it was all full circle, he could leave this life in peace.
Now this just left me in awe. Because how often when people hurt us we close and move away from them? Whether it is that we physically break off the contact or that we emotionally close our hearts. And it is natural to distance ourselves from a person or situation when we are in pain or hurt. But when the time is there, whether it's a few days or few years later, are you willing to open up and lean in? Or are you staying distant and not really allowing true healing to occur? What Lucy did was opening up a little bit more each time, hearing Pauls stories and she really listened. This allowed her to see him for the soul he was and that opened up so much compassion. This is where the true healing happened for her, when she leaned in. Not when she backed away. Now of course, every situation is different and sometimes the best thing indeed is to stay away for your safety. But where could you lean in and get curious about that person? Where could you soften your heart and maybe even rewrite the story with a more loving ending? Where could you tune in to more love, compassion and forgiveness?
Lucy said she was getting softer and softer with the years and gave me a massive hug when she left. She warmed my heart and this was just another testimonial to me that life is about connection. That love and being open to what is here NOW is so incredibly important. In some situations it is important to ask yourself: yes, I was hurt in the past. But am I still being hurt right now in this actual moment? Something to think about...