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In the spring of 2010 I was taking my daily walk.  I was burden with a few huge life issues and as I had learned to do I was walking them out through the soles of my feet.  On the horizon I saw a person who seemed to be lost.  Somehow I knew that no matter how small I wanted to make myself and how much I did not want to talk to anyone that day that person was going to approach me for directions. 
I quickened my step and bent my head down as to give the body language that I was unavailable.  When I looked up to round the bend he was standing right in my path.  How he got to me so quickly, I will never understand.  He was an elderly man (a wizen creature), shaking and breathless.  Before he opened his mouth the knowledge came to me that he was going to meet with a local leader and he had overshoot his destination by a mile.  He very kindly asked me directions.  Our brief conversation confirmed what I knew.  I gave him directions back to his destination and made my way back to my car.
I have made it a practice to NEVER pick up strangers.  However, that morning a still small voice said to give him a ride back to his meeting.  Just then a friend who is never up before 9AM due to illness called me.  I told her the story and knowing my policy about picking up strangers she said, "Heidi, what if he is an angel"? 
With that unusual comment I decided to pick him up.  I couldn't find him.  How he had managed to walk 1/4 mile so quickly after talking to me I won't understand that either but I pulled into a parking lot and waited for him.  The first thing out of his mouth after he struggled to get into the car was, "Life is a marathon not a sprint.  You are trying to fix too much into your life right now.  Relax.  Enjoy the journey". 
He then proceeded to tell me a few pivotal things about myself that no one knew (except maybe this friend who had just called).  He suggested two books to read.  I have never been so affirmed by anyone, especially someone who didn't know of me as I was that morning by this person.
When I dropped him off at his destination less than five minutes later he said, "Remember, follow your bliss.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  When your earthly journey is over you will  look back at this seemingly insurmountable, monumental time in your life and realize that is was all small stuff".  With that comment, he stiffly got out of my car and with great pain hobbled into his allotted appointment.
I did see him a few times after this initial encounter.  I don't know much about this man.  I do know that he was ill.  He intensely loved his wife and was committed to making sure her needs were met especially after he transitioned.  I do know he gave me courage and hope when I lost both.  He encouraged me to believe in myself.
The last time I saw him was a couple of weeks before Christmas 2010.  He left me with a few personal comments.  I learned that he transitioned from his earthly journey in January of 2011. The morning I learned of his passing, I was once again on the same track where I first met him. As I rounded the bend on the opposite end of the track that morning I looked up and saw a rainbow in the sky.   As I gazed at this ancient eternal symbol of promise and hope, I could hear him whisper, "Don't sweat the small stuff.  Enjoy the journey".
This morning, two years later, I still hear his words ring loud and clear in my heart as I train for Biggest Winner 2013.  DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.  ENJOY THE JOURNEY.  I will, Sojourner, I will.
(Snapped with the cell phone camera after I received the call of Sojourner's transition)

©2012 Heidi Parunak/  All  rights reserved.  This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast, recorded or redistributed without express permission.


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