Last August, I moved around quite a bit in my vocation as a traveling shaman.
One of my favorite parts of my work travels was the inadvertent exposure to over 20 Uber drivers, most of them from other countries. It was such an undeniable glimpse into the many-flavored expressions of Life’s heart.
There was one driver who especially moved me with his presence.
One early-morning ride in L.A., maybe 1:30 a.m., exhausted after leaving a 10-hour healing ceremony at my client’s house and heading back to my hotel, I was picked up by a young Indian man who was so refreshing in his humanity that I will carry his transmission with me always.
Twenty-two years old, having moved here from India only two years prior, this man was so inappropriately chatty and nosy with his broken English and heavy Indian accent with sing-song inflections, yet so startlingly huge-hearted that I found myself instantly disarmed in the back seat of his small Toyota, answering all of his questions without hesitation.
His first question was, “Your family-friends is healthy happy?”
I said, “Yes, thank you, they are well. Are your family and friends healthy and happy?”
He replied graciously, “Oh yes, yes. Very good, very happy.” His head wobbled beautifully, Indian-style, after everything he said.
Then he asked, “You have children?”
I replied, “I do. I have two children. They are teenagers.”
He exclaimed exuberantly: “Two children! Teenagers? Oh, you very lucky. So lucky woman! Two teenagers. Very good! Do they live at home?”
I chuckled a little at his enthusiasm, and replied, “Yes, yes they do.”
Again, astonished with amazement at my luck, he exclaimed, “You such very lucky.”
Then the man asked: “You have daughters or sons?”
I responded, “I have one of each—a daughter and a son.”
This seemed like the most astonishing news to him. He repeated, “A daughter and a son? You are very lucky! So lucky woman.”
He asked then, “Who takes care of your parents?”
This question caught me off-guard. I responded, “My parents? Umm…they take care of themselves…”
My new friend could hardly believe this news. “Oh?! Yes? Your parents take care of themselves! You are so lucky.”
By then, my heart was quietly bursting in my chest at receiving this angel’s reflection of my amazing good luck.
Then he said, “You travel to L.A., so you work with computers?”
I paused, then said, “No…I don’t work with computers. I work with healing. I’m a healer. I help people with their suffering.”
He stared at me in the rear-view mirror, and his eyes got wide. He said, “Oh. You healer? You have much knowledge! You help people? Very good. Very good work. So, so lucky.”
His magic was melting me, flooring me. “Yes…” I mustered.
Then he said, “You help people healing, and they pay you 100 dollars?! So many money! So good. You are very special woman. Very lucky woman.”
He was nodding, staring at me wide-eyed in the rearview mirror as though he was absorbing an incredible anomaly of luck.
I squirmed in the irony of how little 100 dollars has come to mean in my privileged life.
I took a deep breath, receiving life’s extraordinary reflection to me offered through this man. God was winking at me.
Then, as he continued to receive me through his rear-view mirror, taking in my white skin, my messy gold-silver locks, and my tired blue eyes, he said: “You are like Indian, no? You look like my people. Your eyes, no. But your face, yes! You look like my mother! You are Indian, yes?”
I could feel the grace of his heart, his absolute embrace of me, finding his own mother in my face. What a profound secret agent of truth. My heart was undone by his beauty.
My shimmering eyes silently met his brilliant ones, acknowledging what had been given and received.
We had arrived back at my hotel in downtown L.A. As he pulled up by the curb to let me out, I gushed, “Oh thank you, thank you! I’m so grateful for you! What a beautiful man you are. How blessed is every person who steps into your car. Bless you. Bless your life.”
He smiled at me, “Goodbye lucky woman.”
And then I got out of his car and laughed with love and astonishment all the way up the elevator ride to my hotel room, repeating to myself: “Holy smokes! I have a daughter and a son who both live at home, my parents take care of themselves, and I’m a healer who makes a hundred dollars! I am the luckiest woman in the world. The very luckiest.”
City of angels, indeed.
How many nights in recent months have I lost essential sleep within the tender angst and stress of living full-time with my challenging teenagers? Most nights.
How much anxiety have I navigated inside the precarious position of providing for my children on a healer’s income?
I do live with an undercurrent of gratitude for this sacred path of motherhood and my magnificent, beloved children. I stay close to the gifts that accompany this inherently fleeting chapter of living so intimately with my kids.
And much of the time I feel immeasurably grateful that my profession is one of getting to love people for a living.
My relative privilege is not lost on me.
And yet, something about this man’s bold declaration of my basic good luck illuminated a tendency of what I take for granted.
Lucky just to be. Lucky just to love. Lucky.
God’s nosy, incessant reflection of grace is undeniable, if only we let it in. God’s utterly disarming voice is everywhere, if only we open our ears to listen.