The Surprise Gift

The greatest joys for me have always come from the most unexpected places.  Last night, while out walking my dog, I struck up a conversation with a  neighbor in my complex.  This neighbor has obvious disabilities, yet his smile and easy manner would warm your heart.

 We conversed about Section 8 housing and how he got into the program. My building is certified for Section 8 housing, and there is a bevy of challenged people that have made it their home. After I collected my mail, "Tim" asked if he could walk along with me and my dog, Pepe.

"Of course," I replied.  I was welcoming conversation after a long day in front of a computer.

 We discussed where "Tim" was born, he shared with me that throughout his life,  people have made fun of him and his disabilities.  I was so hurt and angry to hear this from such a kind soul.

 I had talked to this young man less than ten minutes, and already I was perked up and happier than I had been in a long time.  Yet, I thought- people actually have made fun of him?  It is obvious that Tim has disabilities, he speaks about two octaves louder than most; but his easy smile and soulful eyes are honest, transparent and engaging.

I began to tell him about Pepe, my Great Pyrenees.  How he has suddenly lost the strength in his back legs.  I told him that Pepe has been my closest and best friend  for almost 10 years.  I shared the thought of losing him is painful.  I told him I didn't know how to handle this unavoidable event.

"Tim" knelt down and put his arm around Pepe's head and whispered,   "You're going to be alright Pepe, remember your Mama needs you, you have to get well for her," he said.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  The intuition this young man has amazed me .  After Tim had his little discussion with Pepe, he straightened up and continued to walk with me.

"I had a Golden-Retriever wolf mix," he said.  "I loved that dog.  My mom and I found him on an Indian reservation outside of San Diego.  I remember how I took him to work with me every day. Then, when he got sick we were going to move.  I prayed that he would live until we made that move."

I felt like I was talking to someone I have known all my life.  When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation.  A heart-to-heart like this?

Gifts come in different packages and types.  "Tim" told me that few people engage him in conversation because they just assume he isn't intelligent enough to take the time to speak with him.

What a travesty for those that have passed on a good conversation with Tim!

They have missed out on the special joys that he shares openly with those that will take the time to look beyond the obvious.

The rare unique pleasure of having a meaningful conversation.   I have always hated small-talk  For me, Finding someone to open up to is like trying to look for a needle in a haystack.

There are so many treasures to explore in the most unlikely places.  I often look outside myself for happiness; I think I'll find  in buying clothes, a house or other material possessions.

How would I know that the key to happiness could be found at my mailbox?

Finding happiness for me, after all was less complicated than I had imagined.

I challenge you to try it sometime by speaking to someone you would normally just pass on the street, at the car wash or on your day-to-day activities.

 It energized and renewed me.  I know it will bring you special joys as well.  I was reminded why I am here, and what it takes to really be happy.