–Have you ever wondered what the common thread throughout your life is? For me it was a new question and definitely not something I had ever wondered about. Even when asked, I couldn’t think of an answer, I couldn’t see the common thread throughout my life. My friend that asked the question suggested that I’d take a dive into my past and write down various experiences that popped up in my mind. This could be a way to find the common thread, and make it easier to take in.
Said and done! I dove into my past and this is what came to mind.
Sandtjärn (Sandlake) in Vuollerim
I was about 12 years old when I rescued a woman from drowning and almost drowned myself in the process. It was in Sandtjärn (Sand lake), a lake situated in the village I grew up in, Vuollerim. The woman, – whom I do not recall the name of – could have been somewhere between 20-30 years old. I do know that she worked in the local clothing store Björkmans, which nowadays is the location for Bytutet.
The enormous feeling afterwards is impossible to describe.
I was invited as a guest lecturer at a school just outside of Puerto Vallarta. The school had a floor made of dirt. The students were observant, interested and receptive listeners. That is, all except this one boy who looked like he didn’t want to be there. He slouched and stared down at the floor. During recess I asked the teacher about him and was told that he probably was the one who had the most difficulties in class. He came from even poorer conditions than the rest of the kids and was often bullied. After recess, I talked about choices, that no matter what situation you find yourself in, you always have a choice. Just remember that you are good in your core and that no one can take away from you all the driving force you are born with unless you choose to let it happen. I pointed out that the choices they’d make would determine what their future would be like. Then I turned to the boy and said, “I have a feeling that you will make good choices and that your life will turn out very well.
A few years later I found out that things had turned around for him. He was no longer bullied by classmates and he seemed much more confident in himself.
Every now and then I visited the Eagles Club in a suburb of a city in the US. One of the waitresses there might have been around 35-40 years of age, but when she smiled she looked much older because she had several front teeth missing. We used to chat a little and one day she told me that she was a single parent.
Since I had wondered why she hadn’t fixed her teeth I finally collected enough courage to just straight up ask her. She replied that she simply could not afford to go to the dentist. Then I asked her if she’d want some assistance, and she said “Yes, absolutely.” Upon hearing that I contacted a dentist I knew from a city around 40 miles away. When I told him about her situation and asked if he would be willing to help her he immediately agreed to help her ‘pro bono’, that is completely free of charge.
The woman was thrilled with the news but sadly she said she had to decline the offer because she couldn’t afford the travel expenses to get her to and from the dentist’s office. I decided to give her $50,- gas allowance for every treatment. This proved to be money well spent.
It is indescribable how good it felt for both the dentist and for me to have been able to assist her to solve the problem. Her smile was beautiful and her self-esteem was visibly improved.
The great feeling afterwards is impossible to describe.