What follows is a beautiful story from a friend…a friend I have yet to meet. Esther is a regular reader on Trust Life Today, often posting quotes and sending me emails. It’s been through our exchanges, and now, especially after reading her story below, that I feel as if I know her. What an extraordinary example she provides for Letting Go and Trusting Life.
Here’s her story as she tells it:
What is Trust Life?
Trust Life is exactly that. We live in such a chaotic world, everything is instantaneous. Have you ever thought about how simple your life could be if you just stopped, looked around for a moment, and saw the beauty that surrounds us? When you Trust Life, you stop worrying. When you stop worrying about your daily commitments, you slow down, just enough to smell Spring in the air, to hear the birds chirping, just enough to pay attention to the small things we ignore while in our daze of worrying.
Don’t get me wrong, Trust Life does not happen instantly, it’s a process. You have to mentally open your mind up to the possibilities. You have to let go of the attachments that you may think you need, but you don’t. Your mind will play tricks on you, telling you just how much you need this, and need that, but you really don’t. Let me tell you my story:
A year and a half ago I got laid off. My employer sold his company and the new company eliminated my position. I was lucky to get another job almost immediately. It was with less pay and less hours, but it was better than nothing. As the first two months went by, my employer’s business was not doing as well as he had hoped. My work hours went from 35 hours a week to eight hours a week. I was not prepared for that, as this was something to tide me over until I could find something more permanent.
Two months after that, I was faced with the reality of having to give up my apartment because I could not afford it anymore. I didn’t want to lose my apartment; I really don’t have family out here or many friends who would be willing to put me up until I found another job. As the days went by, it seemed the tighter I held on to the thought of not giving up my apartment, the worse things got. I was down to one meal a day and had lost 15 pounds in one month.
And then one morning it occurred to me…why don’t I just let this apartment go? Why am I so worried about holding on? I gathered up my courage, walked in, and told the apartment office manager to give me a couple of days to find another place to go so I could vacate. Management at the apartment complex had been so sympathetic, that they let me stay, even though I had been behind on rent for a month. Reaching out to others for a place to stay, the few people I thought were friends turned me down for one reason or another. I wasn’t shaken, I had my courage. (I have no idea where that courage came from, but I believe there is strength in believing things will turn out for the best.)
I ran out of time. I called one of the maintenance guys from the complex; he had been very helpful in the past. I gave him everything I had in my apartment, from the furniture to the dressers, to the two beds. He had a 13-year old son and everything I had he needed. I was left with my clothes.
We had moved everything and I stuffed my car with what was left. I remember that day. It was midday when I handed the keys over, and I never felt such relief. Just as I was figuring out where to go, a former co-worker heard about my situation and offered me a place to stay. His family had an empty guest room I could stay in until I was back on my feet. I got directions and was on my way.
In a matter of days, I heard that my former employer (the one I was initially laid off from) had opened another company. He was looking for someone to help with his accounting. I called him and within a week I had a job. In one month I was back on my feet. I got another apartment and I moved.
To me, the biggest lesson that I took from this experience was that sometimes we hold on to things just too tight. When things are not going your way, look within and look around and see what it is you are holding on to: that is the very thing that is holding you back.
This experience stripped me to my core. I see myself completely differently. I allowed myself to be naked in front of the whole world, and in turn, I found myself.
There are so many layers to us that shield us from really seeing who we are. You may look in the mirror every day and not see yourself. Why? Because you may be afraid of what you see. When I look in the mirror now, I see my soul.
Trust yourself. Trust Life.”
Esther tells a story not many people I know can tell. This is the type of story you hear from someone speaking about a complete stranger, or something out of a movie. And although I understand conceptually what she speaks of: losing her job, giving away all of her furniture, seeking shelter from friends, lacking sufficient money to pay for food, etc., I have never shared her experience; I cannot truly appreciate what she must have been feeling at the time.
Something I do share with Esther is this: I understand Letting Go. And I understand Trusting Life. And although my experiences of letting go and trusting are different than hers (and yours), they are real. So real, that I too, can honestly say, “I have been stripped to my core. I see myself completely differently. I allowed myself to be naked in front of the whole world, and in turn, I found myself.” Powerful words. Thank you for sharing them with us Esther, and allowing me to borrow them.
Fast forward one day.
Yesterday I met Esther. We shared one of my absolute favorite activities: we sat, two people connecting, sharing, learning from one another…all while sipping a cup of tea.
“To be sure, we do not have to experience the same things to receive each other, but we do have to experience what is ours to live through, before life will show its roots.” ~Mark Nepo