My last post had a lot to do with the idea of timing. I don’t think this post is much different, but maybe it has more to do with validation that the choices and decisions I’m making are finally getting me closer to the path I think I’m supposed to be on.
Last weekend as I sat in the courtyard of a small cafe in Fairhope, Alabama, I got the feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
After the sunrise I told you about last week, I found my way into this quiet little breakfast joint for a cup of coffee and some beignets. While searching for the perfect table to do some writing, I was randomly greeted by some friends from Auburn. It’s always nice to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place, and it’s even better when you later find out that they secretly bought your breakfast.
After spending a few quality hours writing, I went back down to the waterfront park and sat next to a tree overlooking the bay. I’ve always wanted to be one of those guys you see in the paintings that can take a nap leaned up next to a big shady tree with his hat pulled down over his face.
As it turns out, I’m not one of those guys. All I could think about was how bad I wanted a pillow. And a blanket. And maybe a mattress. Under the shade tree. Now that would have made for a good nap.
So as I sat there, not napping, I thought back to an afternoon I spent in St. Augustine last summer.
I had just driven down to Jacksonville to turn my 6-month notice in to my boss and spent a few days in Orlando. But before driving all the way back to Auburn on Sunday, I found myself wandering around our nation’s oldest city. Not sure what else to do, I jumped on one of those hop-on, hop-off trolley tours and spent the afternoon riding around, waiting for the urge to do something else.
That urge came at the world’s largest cross. It supposedly sits at the spot where, in 1565, Christianity was brought to what is now America. The view of the 208 ft. cross from the parking lot didn’t do it justice so I got off the trolley and walked a few hundred yards to get a closer look. As I did, it was like heaven opened up & started shining directly at me. The sky was unreal. You could almost hear angels singing. I knew it was a sign I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Not just here in St. Augustine. Here, leaving my stable job, my steady paycheck, my co-workers and friends all for the mere possibility of bigger & better things.
The next sign came an hour or so later. Walking down the sidewalk, I started to feel the initial drops of an impending Florida afternoon thunderstorm. Just before getting soaked, I found shelter under the porch of a closed business nearby. It wasn’t long before I noticed a homeless looking guy leaving the liquor store across the street carrying a 6-pack purchased with his day’s wages.
He boarded his bike and haphazardly headed my way. My first instinct was to avoid him at all costs, but an attempted escape would have left me to deal with the thunderstorm, and after a timely bolt of lightening, he was deemed less frightening.
Soaked, he got off his bike & sat on the other side of the porch. Instead of making a run for it, I surprised us both by walking over and sitting down beside him. For the next half hour, Stevie B and I had the most amazing conversation about boats, life, people, homelessness and poetry.
As the rain subsided and we parted ways, he graciously agreed to a photo and promised me that he’d share some of his writing if we ever met again. And perhaps I’d share some of mine.
Looking back, it may seem like just a few random events; nothing incredibly life changing or ground breaking. But on that particular Sunday in late June, I knew what it meant.
I don’t know what the next few years have in store, but I can only hope it involves getting caught in thunderstorms with strangers, finding spirituality in unexpected places, watching sunrises from park benches and eating beignets with friends. Because right now, at this point in my life, that’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.