When I was younger, both of my parents worked at a restaurant called, “The Happy Fisherman.” My father was one of their main cooks and my mother was a waitress. Ironically, my uncle also worked there as a dishwasher. The day was Friday, and not just any ordinary Friday. It was PAYDAY FRIDAY! Payday Friday was the best because it usually (sometimes) meant, that my parents would do something kind for my sisters and I. I should mention, this was a time when places didn’t use direct deposit; so to get paid you had to actually go pick up your check.
So, that’s what we found ourselves doing.
Dad, Mom, Uncle Terry, my sisters and I all hopped into the family van and went for a ride. This is where things get interesting. Somewhere between our home and restaurant, I remember my parents stopping to pick up a hitchhiker. That’s right! A hitchhiker. They let a man they didn’t know get into the back of their van...with their children. In a perfect world, stranger man would have been: nicely dressed, clean cut, smelling decent, and not a stranger. But, in reality: he was filthy, long haired that looked liked it hadn’t been washed in over a month, smelled like he hadn’t bathed in a good while either, and let’s not forget the most important detail about this stranger, that my parents let him get in the van…
He had a chainsaw!
I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. My parents let a man who clearly looked like he had just escaped from prison, and who randomly had a chainsaw, get into the back of their vehicle with their small children and Uncle Terry. As it turned out, that potential serial killer, was actually a landscaper. He had run out of gas, and he was trying to get to a gas station. He didn’t want to leave the chainsaw in the back of his truck incase someone might have stolen it. I suppose a story like that lines up with what might have been a legit situation. But, can we stop for just one moment (again) and acknowledge the fact that my parents…the ones that brought me into this world, let a man, a man they didn’t know, get into the back of their vehicle with their children, and his chainsaw?!?
Okay, I am done being redundant about the situation.
As the now seven of us, continued down the highway the Landscaper/stranger man continued to small talk with my parents and my uncle. I don't remember the details of said conversation, but what I saw next will forever remain with me. Landscaper/stranger man, without missing a beat, continued his conversation with my parents while he reached into his pocket and pulled out a balloon.
Yes, a balloon.
He proceeded to start stretching out this balloon, all while he continued the conversation about whatever, and then he blew up this balloon and began bending, shaping, and creating balloon animals! I. Kid. You. Not. Dude went on to make my mom a flower, my sister a poodle, my other sister a rabbit, and me a motorcycle. Turned out that when he wasn’t landscaping or hitchhiking with a chainsaw, that he was also a part time birthday clown.
All around us are remarkable humans.
Irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, humans.
Humans with the most captivating stories.
Humans with hidden gems they’ve tucked away.
Humans that if you don’t take the chance and get to know, you’ll possibly miss a life changing experience.
Now, I am not encouraging everyone to go out and look for the dudes with chainsaws and then let them into their cars. What I am encouraging everyone to do is go out and see that all people matter and everyone deserve a chance.
I think about my clown friend often. I don’t know where he is today, but I hope that wherever he is, that he is still being his unique self. I hope he does not allow the opinions of others to stop him from doing the things that matter to him.
I think people exist for two reasons.
To be loved.
I think vulnerability can be very scary, but it can also be very freeing. I applaud the bravery it takes when a person is able to be themselves. We live in a world that puts far too many expectations on us.
It’s scary to be different.
It’s scary to be unique.
It’s scary to stand out.
But it doesn't have to be.
I am far from perfect, but my imperfections make me approachable.
I am a work in progress and I have stories to tell about it.
I am something in the making which means I am not a finished product.
None of us are any different from my hitchhiking, landscaping, face painting, balloon shaping friend.
We are human.
We breath air.
We need water.
We need food.
We need love.
We are unique.
We have talents.
We have passions.
We have the ability to connect with the world around us.
We have the ability to meet someone, if even for a brief moment, and have their impression remain with us some 25+ years later.
Your story matters.
You are loved.
You are wanted.
You are unique.
You are amazing.
Grace And Peace,