Years ago I attended a conference where I heard Mark Victor Hansen of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” speak. He told us all to make a list of 100 Life Goals. I dutifully made a list. It wasn’t called a Bucket List then because the movie hadn’t been made yet.
This particular item was not on my list of 100 Goals.
I wasn’t expecting it to happen. I don’t know how I could have possibly planned for it.
I was mad, after all, very mad. Angry because the business, the service department where I had purchased my car, obviously didn’t care about its customers, how dare they endanger me. How dare they?
The gentleman told me the usual company line, “We can’t enforce, we can only request.”
I continued pacing and waited as he turned over the paperwork.
Look, this isn’t a joke. This is real.” I said.
“I don’t want to be person #220,000 or whatever the count is now. I’m high risk, I hardly go into any businesses for exactly this reason.”
He nodded and told me I could wait in the indoor waiting room – inside the stuffy, no-air-circulating temporary building or I could wait outside.
I motioned for the outdoor waiting area and added, “And I want to know where I can go next time to get my car serviced. I don’t want to come back here, to this place where people don’t take this seriously.”
I chose to wait outside, even with the temperature in the 90’s
and less than optimal air quality. At least I wasn’t risking my life in the short run. I wrote and I read. I calmed down.
I received a text message informing me I would get another text when my car service was complete and to text my service writer if I had any questions. The message was pleasant enough. I kept my head down and focused on anything but the sweat on my forehead.
The next time I looked up, I thought I saw my car parked and ready to go. I pulled out my phone and texted my service writer, “Is my car finished? I feel foolish because I don’t recognize it yet.” and added a smiley face.
“Yes,” texted the service writer. “I am just finishing the paper work,”
When he approached, he gave me a very thorough report on my car, like a pediatrician would give to a nervous mother. He added, “I also talked to my co-worker about what he did.” I nodded, trying not to be bitter. “He said he was hot…” and I shook my head and probably rolled my eyes.
“And…” he continued, “I wanted to let you know I take this very seriously.
“I take this seriously because… because I lost my brother.”
I looked across the table at him and heard a sound emanate from deep within my gut. “You lost your brother?” I asked, as if I hadn’t heard. “To covid?” His watering eyes and nodding head were met with my disbelief, including the ancient, universal language moan in disbelief. “Oh my God, I am so sorry I am so sorry.” I said as I cried.
We sat outside the service department as if we were in a bubble. I was sobbing, not worried about anyone hearing me say over and over again, “Oh my God, I am so sorry, I am so sorry.”
We had further conversation for only a few moments that felt like an eternity before he got up and went back to work.
He got up and went back to work.
I stayed in the same space, rocking slightly, like I would if I was comforting a baby, continuing to grieve for someone I never knew.
I eventually got up and started driving toward home, but I pulled over to sit, just sit. I received a text. “Thank you for the conversation.”
I cannot say I know why I am put into such situations though I will say I am grateful I was able to give someone space to speak and be heard.
What a risk he took to speak to me.
I am so grateful he took that risk. “I take this very seriously,” he said.
In those moments we became more than service writer to customer, we became fellow members of the human community. We became a place for sacred listening, a family of two.
Space was held for caring and empathy and grief.
My life will never be the same.
Julie JordanScott, the Creative Life Midwife, is a writer, a poet performer, a Creativity Coach, A Social Media Whiz and a Mother of three. One of her greatest joys include loving people into their greatness they just aren’t quite able to realize yet.
Julie is also the Creative Director of the Word Love Writing Community. Join us now to invigorate your writing – no matter what it is you are writing – social media posts, journaling, fiction, memoir – there will be prompts and other people there to support you. Right now, we are finishing out 2020 with 100 Days of Wonderful Words. We look forward to seeing you there.