Inspiration From a One Armed Man
Sometimes inspiration comes in the most unlikely of forms and in the most unusual of places.
One morning I was having a particularly challenging time. Nothing seemed to be going the way I wanted. There was a problem with a tenant in a house I own, I was behind on a particular project I wanted to complete, and after being completely unresponsive for two weeks, a promoter who was supposed to be working with one of my international publishers to bring me to their country for some inspirational speaking events, suddenly needed me to complete about five hours worth of work for them by the end of the day.
I have the type of personality where I like to plan things out. Therefore I find it particularly frustrating when I feel I have done my part on something, and someone else is creating problems for me.
So with feelings of frustration running through me, I got in my car and headed out to take care of the most immediate of the pressing challenges, which was my problem tenant. As I turned out of my subdivision my mind was filled with thoughts. Almost like an ongoing dialog inside my head.
In my mind, I was having a conversation with the promoter "Why didn't you ask for this two weeks ago when I could have scheduled it in?" I was speaking with my tenant "You and I made an agreement, and I have fulfilled my part of it. Do you realize that by not fulfilling yours, you are creating work for me and taking me away from other important activities?"
It wasn't pretty, and although normally I would react with a greater sense of peace about these things -- "It will all work out… There must be something bigger going on that will result from this…" On this particular morning, I was just upset.
As I pulled up to the intersection where I needed to turn right to get on the highway, a man was walking down the entrance ramp. He looked tired, and homeless, or at least very poor, and he only had one arm. In the moment I saw him, my entire demeanor changed.
Here I was driving in my car and mentally complaining about these "big" problems I had, and this person with one arm was WALKING down the highway entrance ramp. My big problems suddenly became very small. I instantly thought about all the things I love to do that I would no longer be able to do if I only had one arm. I appreciated the fact that my life had taken me in a direction where I was able to drive a car when I wanted, and I didn't need to walk along a highway.
As these thoughts passed through my consciousness, the light turned, and I followed the cars onto the highway. When I looked in my rear-view mirror, the one armed man was gone. I turned and glanced behind me, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Now the most likely explanation is that he probably jumped down the grass embankment, or simply turned after making his way to the bottom of the ramp, and I didn't notice. But I never saw him again that day, and I've never seen him since. Which I guess is the way it was supposed to happen.
Nonetheless, I carry his image with me in my memory, and when things are going less smoothly than I'd like, I think of him, and I thank him for reminding me to operate from a state of gratitude.
This one armed man who appeared to have nothing, gave me something that will forever help me in my life.
I've found that as we pursue our Big Five for Life, the universe is always there to help. Sometimes it is in the form of an unexpected windfall, or an opportunity crossing our paths, just when we want it to, and sometimes, it's in the form of a one armed man.