Yesterday was a normal day here in San Miguel de Allende, although more obviously normal than usual, in a good way. I am used to aspects of this culture related to patience and kindness and honesty. Cars stop for you to cross no matter how safely they could go first. People on the street make a point of quietly greeting you or smiling. It is more likely that a vendor will chase you down the street to give you the six pesos you left behind than to overcharge you.
But yesterday was an unusual bunch of goodness.
It started when I was waiting for a group of friends to arrive for dinner. I went outside to open the garage for a friend with a car and found one of the other dinner guests, Laura, talking with two Mexican migrants who were cleaning my neighbor’s car. They were explaining that they were headed north knowing what awaits them there, still better than what they left behind. They spoke without bitterness or self-pity.
I asked the men whether they would fix the ribbons hanging on my window frames. We got out the ladder and they untangled the ribbons, then re-knotted them. When they had finished, the ribbons looked loved.
The young men were so grateful to have just a little work, and the socks and snacks we shared. I went in the house feeling so much gratitude for my life and for yet another tender connection with two people whose lives are so different from mine. It is these moments that make me realize there are no differences when it comes to the things that matter.
The young men left, and we went inside for dinner, six of us sharing stories and laughing. Among these creative women, a ceramicist, a dancer, a writer, all six with adventurous pasts and big hearts.
A couple of hours into it, I went for my phone to show everyone a Lizzo video. None of them had ever heard of her! Terrible that they have missed out! As I routed around for my phone, a light-bulb went off in my head: “You bozo, you left your phone and two credit cards on the windowsill when the migrants were fixing the ribbons.” That is, on the street.
I ran outside. No phone on the windowsill. Ugh. I was mentally adding up the cost of this lapse.
Back in the house, Nancy called my phone number and we listened to the ring on the phone’s speaker. Then, to everyone’s shock, a young voice answered. He gave us an address a block away. Three minutes later, a door opened at Number 14. A young boy stood in the middle of four younger children and held out my phone with two hands. It had the credit cards in the cover. He explained that he had found the phone on a windowsill, and worried that someone would steal it if he didn’t take it home. The children’s father stood silently in the background, letting his son have his moment. I will never forget my brief encounter with this family, and the soft-spoken boy haloed by the street light.
And then we watched Lizzo!
Today brought another kind of goodness. It began with a beautiful message from Robby in Louisiana, reminding me of her conviction to find the truth of what happened to her family’s land and oil and gas resources. She knows the facts, but she wants the truth. She never talks about retaliation or money or even justice. Just truth.
Then I walked down the hill to Unitarian Universalist church (Stan says “It’s not a church, it’s a fellowship”). thinking about Robby’s message and what makes truth so important to us. As I sat down in the crowded room, I noticed in the order of service that the day’s sermon was called “Seeking the Truth.” Ask and ye shall receive. Reverend Tom, always wise and joyful, began by distinguishing “truth” from facts. Truth is something inside us, he said, that integrates us and defines our wholeness. Intuitive. Transcendent. As Ralph Waldo Emerson might have said, “It’s written in us.”
And then Reverend Tom reminded us that finding answers is not so important. He quoted my favorite poet, Rainier Rilke, who said, “Love the questions….live the questions.”