All of us want to know that we matter. We all want to know that somehow, somewhere, with someone, we made a difference. Sometimes we go about our lives giving, interacting and doing, without ever knowing what results our friendship and communication are truly creating.
When I was young, even though my time was limited, I had a strong desire to give of my time and ears. There were always plenty of people that appeared in my life that either just needed a friend, or had similar interests in spirituality, or simply wanted another perspective on life. Yet, oftentimes, friends would move on and my life would morph and I would never really get any feedback as to whether or not my friendship or presence made a difference in anyone’s life.
Jill was a person that I had to let go of any hope of any feedback from. Jill was one of my bosses. She was around 40 and was fairly new at our company. She was stern looking, quiet and seemed to be a bit of a loner.
One of her initial decisions was to change my job and to tell me by announcing it at a department wide meeting. Needless to say, my view of her was defined by that moment. I did not feel noticed or respected by her, and I certainly did not respect her. She seemed extremely isolated. Since in my new job I did not need to interact with her, I did not go out of my way to connect with her. Her secretary, Lori, was also a bit to herself. She was a young, single mother of one daughter. Her daughter was a couple of years older than my oldest daughter, who was about 2 years old at the time.
About a year after Jill began working at our company, one of my very close friends, Kathy, began working on a project with her. Kathy was a very dear friend, whom I shared all of my thoughts and beliefs and questions. So, while she had no real interest in a spiritual path or enlightenment, she thought I was interesting and was always willing to have a conversation with me about it.
Shortly after her project concluded, Kathy and I went to lunch. To my surprise, Kathy told me that she had told Jill about my interest in spirituality. I can’t remember how she said the conversation arose, but she said that Jill seemed very interested and wanted to speak to me. I was, of course, shocked. As I pondered this walking back to work, I decided that Jill was so distant and self-absorbed that she probably would not talk to me, and it would not be something I would have to worry about.
That thought was immediately demolished. Within an hour of me arriving back at work, Jill called me up to her office. Note: I had never, ever been called to her office. In fact, she had never, ever even talked to me. Warily, but confidently, I made my way upstairs to her office.
She asked me to enter and shut the door behind me. With a steady poker face, she explained that Kathy had told her about my interest in spirituality and that she wanted to ask me questions. I sat expectantly.
Her first question was, “Do you believe in God? And if you do, how would you describe God?”
This question began my six month long, strange interaction with Jill. Once a week, she would call me to her office. For an hour, with the door closed, she would drill me with questions about life, God, death, spirituality, reincarnation and whatever else in the realm of the unknown she could think of. She never once spoke to me in a personal manner. She never even changed her facial expression. We never had conversations, just questions, more questions and answers. She never responded to anything I said, so I had no idea what she was thinking.
Six months later she quit and moved to another city. She did not tell me she was quitting. She did not say good-bye. My reaction to the whole thing was mixed. Part of me felt taken advantage of, because I felt I could not tell her no, because I did not want to lose my job. The part of me that wanted to help people was happy to be there for her, but confused by her lack of animated interaction. At the time, I chalked it up to another odd, unknown and unknowable experience in my life. It was work as usual, and of course, I never told anyone except my friend Kathy.
Five years later, I was in another department, but working for the same company. Most of the people I had worked with five years prior were not in the same department, nor had I maintained a relationship with any of them. I also had recently enrolled my daughters in a martial arts class.
One day at my daughters martial arts class, Jill’s ex-secretary Lori and her daughter came to view the class. We had not known each other hardly at all five years ago, but we certainly recognized one another. After watching that class she signed her daughter up, so we began to see each other a couple of times a week, waiting for our children in class.
Because I no longer spoke to anyone from 5 years prior, it would have never occurred to me that Lori would have either. While I did think it was a coincidence that she ended up at the same dojo as my daughters, it wasn’t that much of a stretch.
However, after a few months of Lori and I hanging out waiting for our kids, Lori shared with me that she had remained friends all these years with her ex-boss, Jill. On this day, she told me that she had told Jill she had seen and spoke to me, and Jill had asked her to give me a message. Jill told her to tell me that she had found her spiritual path. She told Lori that it would be important for me to know. She did not say thank you or again say much of anything else, but just the fact that through the matrix of time, space and fate, she was able to get this message to me, meant to me that she and the universe wanted me to know that I mattered.
I cannot tell you how important her message was to me. Feeling that this person did care, but was just unable to articulate it. Feeling that my interaction with her was not a burden or strange, but something that really made a difference to her. It was as if a mystery of my past had been solved. I felt a renewed happiness and surrender to my life as a healer, whatever that might look like.
I want you to know that you matter.
I love you.