“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” Henri Frederic Amiel
On the night I turned 50, I dreamt about flying – the kind of free spirit, life-giving, amazing flying that happens regularly in my dreams where I simply raise my arms over my head, jump into the wind and take off like a confident eagle soaring to the top of the mountain. That night my flying was particularly astounding and I was the headliner star of an exhibition that was being held in a large stadium filled with thousands of people.
As I flew into the stadium, astride a small balloon, I yelled happily, “I always knew I could fly!” Then as a show starter, I pushed the balloon from beneath me and brashly waved it at my side and then released it completely as I dipped and twirled and waved and laughed. The audience was ecstatic, on their feet, thrilled and I was so happy to entertain them with my amazing skill!
Later on the ground, I moved past scores of country fair booths outside the stadium where vendors were selling their wares. One booth offered the pinkest, sweetest-looking strawberry cake. I watched as a lady stopped to admire it, decided to purchase it and then requested the recipe.
“Oh,” said the snappy vendor, “I did not make the cake myself.” I stood there wondering about its mysterious origin, its authenticity. Was it, in fact, homemade by someone else? Or could it be a store bought cake – just being offered for re-sale?
As I stood there, a passerby suddenly accosted me and loudly accused me of not really flying on my own – doing instead some kind of trick. My stomach fluttered and felt sick as I felt the gaze of those standing nearby. I couldn’t find my voice to rebuke her or defend myself. I stammered nearly silently and begin to question my own authenticity.
What if I am a fake, I thought. What if I cannot fly again? What if I am not bona fide after all – like the suspicious strawberry cake?
As I stood there, afraid and insecure, another passerby spoke to me and said gently, “Don’t pay any attention to that woman. You were wonderful! I loved watching you!” And with those words, I knew I could fly again. All I had to do was raise my arms, catch the wind and leap.
Our words are so very important. They can make others laugh or cry, believe in themselves or believe they can only fail, bring joy or bring sorrow and wish love or the opposite. Tonight I thank those who have brought light into my life through your words of kindness and encouragement.
We can all attain our goals. We just need a little help from our friends.