Nothing is Not Extraordinary

I have a 6 year-old daughter, Tuesday. She is chocolate-ice-cream-obsessed. We’re regulars at our local creamery. Being on a first-name basis with the ice cream guy is only a little embarrassing.

But this is not about ice cream.

Tues and I were sitting on the curb one day in front of the shop when a bearded, old man walked by, flashed us a sketch of a face and asked, pointing inside, “Does it look like that guy?”

It didn’t. But my nice girl synapses fired and I said, “Mmm….yeah!”, which I got hell for later because Tuesday knew I was just being nice. The sketch looked nothing like the guy inside. She doesn’t let me get away with anything.

But this isn’t about that, either.

When the old man came back out of the shop, he swooped around toward us and asked Tuesday if she liked to draw. She said, “Yes”, and then he went off on a rant.

“That’s great! Never stop drawing! You can do it until you’re old like me! And find a mentor! I never went to school for art but my mentor has taught me everything I’ve ever needed to know!”

His words hit me like daggers.

I created my own major in college. Okay, stop laughing. I’ve always been interested in a lot of things and choosing one thing was impossible for me. So I chose them all. But mostly I chose Art.

Now I’m not a jealous person, but I felt that feeling creep up when the old man told us he had a mentor. I’ve always wanted one of those. You know, someone who could teach me things, someone in my corner.

In life, we get to chose what kind of ice cream we want (Coffee Heath for me) but we don’t always get to choose our circumstances. Maybe I waffled in college because no one noticed me or I wasn’t proactive enough. Maybe I just didn’t know what I wanted.

Who cares. These days, I know what I want. I want to finish this damn book I’ve been working on all year. And I know I need help to do that. So without a mentor and with limited resources, I hired Amy.

Who’s Amy? I found her on a website. Hello, this is the 21st century, how else do you find people? She has long, gray, wavy hair and 30 years of experience in graphic design and printing. She wears Vans and tie dye. After parting ways the first time we met, she peeled a pink, magnetic hippie flower off her car and gave it to me. She is magic and she is teaching me everything I ever needed to know.

I had misgivings about hiring her at first. I wished, instead, there was someone in my community who I already knew who could help me, or that I would somehow serendipitously happen upon someone who could help and all would fall into place. I also wondered if school would have been the better route, being able to get a degree and all.

But I don’t think so.

I think this woman was plucked out of the universe and put in my path on purpose.

Total purpose.

Yesterday as Amy was packing up at the end of our session she said, “You know, I’m glad I decided to take you on as a student because it’s helping me to see the holes in my own knowledge.” And it gave me pause. Because this relationship is helping her, too.

And that’s what it’s all about. Reaching out beyond our world into the world of another. Hoping someone reaches back. And when they do, getting to share that unique space that only exists between the both of you, ever, for all eternity. A place full of surprises, of learning, of magnetic hippie flowers.

Maybe I go through life missing this most of the time, but nothing is not extraordinary. Trust your path. Trust the people in it. Notice everything. Learn whatever you can. Move toward the things that bring you joy. And never, ever stop moving.

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