Monday, December 17, 2007

I Know This Much is True

One of my fondest fantasies is one in which I go to my closet and SURPRISE! There is something new there that I love, just my size, the perfect color.

Sometimes I scrunch my eyes closed before opening the closet door in the way I tried to catch fairies under my pillow as a child. I seem to have misunderstood the tooth fairy legend, for I believed that fairies lived there no matter where my teeth happened to be, and all that was needed to see them was the element of surprise.

If there is something new and wonderful in my closet, I am determined not to let it get away unremarked.

There is never anything there that I didn't put there myself.

Today, Flip found a hooded sweater in his closet, light gray, which he had not seen before. For a moment, I didn't remember it either, and was horrified at the thought that I might have collected someone else's garment at the launderette, perhaps left behind in a dryer, and never noticed.

Then I remembered buying it for him months ago. Of course I bought it. I love hoods.

I'm so glad to have made my fantasy come true for someone else.

I had an experience yesterday that was almost in the realm of fantasy, however.

I was driving to the supermarket and decided to check out the wharf where the Friends of the Library bookstore and my favorite vegetarian restaurant are as there are sometimes events in the large buildings.

There was a craft fair, not the usual tacky baubles but some really nice items which are also sold in elegant boutiques in the city. I found something I loved for one of my family members. (I'm being vague here because you never know who reads this blog.)

I told the craftswoman that I needed to have it, and did she take credit cards?

"No," she said, "I take checks."

"I don't have any with me. I'll have to come back."

"I trust you," she said, smiling. "You can send it to me."

She told me about her years sailing on San Francisco Bay with her husband and children while wrapping my gift beautifully.

I reminded her that I needed her address but she was out of business cards.

She scrawled her contact information on a scrap of paper I produced from my pocket, and we wished each other a happy holiday.

Of course I sent her check off today, but this gift has become a thing of wonder to me because of the luminous spirit of the woman who made it. In my note, I thanked her for her trust in me and in human nature and told her how delightful it was to meet her.

The kindness of strangers is very real and can absolutely be relied upon.


*~*Cece*~* said...

That is awesome! You don't get that very often this day and age.

Maddy said...

What a lovely experience, it's like back in the 'good old days' when people left their houses and cars unlocked. Glad to hear that there are still a few pockets of trust around here and there.
Best wishes

EsLocura said...

that was almost like experiencing a fairy. it sounds like magic to me. I love fairies and kind trusting people.

seventh sister said...

Beautiful story. I wonder how many times she has done that for someone. It restores a little faith in humanity, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I'm usually so cynical, all I thought of was, "is she stupid? Who takes checks anymore?" Apparently someone who is giving more than selling takes checks.

thailandchani said...

Whatever it is, you were meant to have it.. and that woman was clearly a diamond among all the coal out there. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


She was awesome. Who trusts strangers anymore?


I was amazed. I still am. I couldn't get that check into the mail fast enough because I didn't want her to worry for a second that she'd misplaced her trust.


It WAS like a fairy tale! She was lovely.


Yes, it does. If we could all practice trust, the effects would be staggering.

When someone trusts us, we want so much to live up to it.


It was a truly strange and wonderful experience, and gives me hope for the world.


Well, her payment IS in the mail, but I would have gone home gladly to get my checkbook and returned while she held the item for me.

I think this illustrates that if we never take a chance on people, we never give them a chance to prove themselves to us.

The world is richer when we do.

Rachel Schell said...

that sounds so magical! what a wonderful woman.

I believed in fantasies of a different kind when I was a kid. I still run and jump onto my bed so the monster underneath won't grab my ankles. :P I did have some non monster beliefs though, I just can't remember them.

PS - I LOVE hoods also!!

the walking man said...

All life is a reflection of what you, yourself are. Generally speaking if you had not sent the check out then it would have been reflected back to you in a similar way.

want more trust from strangers, then trust more strangers.

Don't know how it, as a rule, works in SF seeing as I haven't lived there in 30 years but it works this way in Detroit.

Now about your next door neighbor...ha ha ha hah ha ha



Liz said...

That's a beautiful thing that she had such trust in humanity. I always think having such high expectations usually makes people rise up to meet them.

I wish I'd find some new clothes in my closet too. :)

Rachel said...

I wish there were more people like her, so that more people could experience that kind of goodness and respect. The sad thing is that most people can be that way, and are inclined to be that way, but we haven't been encouraged to realize our own potential for goodness because our culture is full of fear and suspicion. And that actually makes it easier to be "bad" than "good."

You're lucky to experience so much good. :)

WNG said...

You attract the kind of people you are. (That's a Mama G-ism)This story illustrates it beautifully. Sometimes the universe rewards the wanderer, so keep straying from the path :)

jali said...

I once needed to send flowers to my MIL for mother's day, and my credit card was maxed out and I was sick in bed with the flu.

I called the local florist to see if she would take a check over the phone. Instead she took my order and sent the flowers and told me to come in to pay after I felt better. I'll never forget her. (Berry's Florist, Linden Blvd, St. Albans, NY)

storyteller said...

What a special gift (in so many ways). Thanks for sharing your experience, reminding me of one of my own.
Hugs and blessings,

Craze said...

You don't run across too many people like that anymore. That is the true spirit of Christmas.

Emperor Ropi said...

Yeah, it is easy to be kind with a stranger.

jstele said...

Well, apparently she had trust for good reason. I think it's not so much about being generous even though she was, but having a good instinct about other people. It is wise to be prudent about who you put your trust in. Some people will take advantage of that trust. Exercise discernment.

Sometimes, you do need to put your trust in others because there is no other choice. That's why it's good to develop your intuition about people.

America is a very low-trust country, particularly in the big cities. But there is good reason. There is a lot of crime. But in some other places, people will leave their stuff out in public and trust. And most of the time, it's there when they come back. If it's not, it's considered a great aberration. I think it's sad that things have come to this state, but until people get a greater sense of social responsibility, things will stay the same. Even in a high-trust country, I still look after my stuff, sometimes, because I could still be the one in a million.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It must be working since the monster hasn't gotten you.

I'd keep on doing it forever.


Nothing funny about that chick. But you're right otherwise about attracting what you are.

It's like a house of cards in that every time you trust someone and they prove worthy, another card stands up. When your trust is betrayed, the whole deck falls down.

Or something.


I still look on the theory that if I only believe, it will be so. Just like the pillow fairies.

My belief system must not be strong enough or I would have new clothes every day.


You raise a most interesting point that our culture encourages fear and suspicion and makes it easier to be bad than good.

I wish it were otherwise because being trusted is a real high.


Path? What path?

Being the worrier that I am, I was concerned that I would die before I could get her check in the mail and she would never know my heart was good.


What a lovely story! If I'm ever in St. Albans in need of flowers, I know where to go.


I'm glad you've had a similar experience. It was quite wonderful, wasn't it?


So true! Just when I had begun to believe that the spirit of Christmas had become rudeness, spite and aggressiveness. Sadly, those qualities are often more in evidence.


It should be easier with those who are close to us.


I think it's good to be trusting as long as we are also watchful over our own safety and wellbeing.

What country do you live in? I'd like to know more about how it is there.

Thank you for your visit.

PeterAtLarge said...

Trust is a rare commodity these days. It's great to find it still alive and well in those rare cases. Of course, it's necessary to inspire it, as you obviously did. Most often, we're asked for trust by someone who clearly is not worthy of it. I think of... well, Bush. His minions... I tend to distrust the person who says, Trust me!

PeterAtLarge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mariposa said...

Wow, that woman must be my Mom! ;)

You are right...kindness from strangers is very real and special... And yes, how I love the element of surprise that I always try to surprise people and surprise myself in the process... :D

Ian Lidster said...

I think that's a wonderful seasonal tale. Thank you, dear friend

Odat said...

That is a rarity...but as others have's something about you she trusted and she saw that.
Good for you!

Anonymous said...

How did I miss this post yesterday? I swear I check like clockwork.

Perhaps you did not get your fantasy garment but it seems like you got an unexpected nonetheless. A warm smile, a tursting touch from a stranger. That is just like a hooded sweater isn't it?

Open Grove Claudia said...

How wonderful! And I bet what a delight for the woman then to receive the check. That's the true spirit of metta.

My husband believes that our cabinets make his favorite food. Afterall, he goes to the cabinet and wha la, a new bag of chips. One time he told me that he didn't really believe it, but I see him there, like you, wishing for the sour cream and onion chips that almost never appear.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yeah, in Bush I do not trust.

When people say "trust me," I tend to have to same reaction, just as "to tell you the truth" implies that they do not habitually do so.


Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman.

I always try to surprise people being good.


It was so much nicer than watching shoppers beat each other up over the last great bargain on the table.


Maybe she just trusts people to a rare degree. It was a lovely thing to have happen.


I guess. A new sweater would be nice, too, you know, for we material girls.


Husbands and pets are so similar in certain respects. Dogs also believe that cupboards provide biscuits, and my cat is positive that the refrigerator and microwave are her saviors. I am simply the middleman, or person.

Angela said...

Love the "Streetcar" reference! Wonderful story. Thank you!

jstele said...

The magic of finding a nice surprise is that we discover the "hidden" abundance in the Universe. It was always there all along, but to our eyes, it is something new and wondrous. A true miracle because it is something that we did not expect and amazes us. Something doesn't have to be big to be precious and a miracle.

I've experienced a nice surprise, too. I ran out of body wash and was going to order some online. But my intuition said, "No, not right now", so I relied on ordinary, run-of-the-mill soap. One day, I felt the urge to look inside a cabinet and open a box. In that box, there was a nice bottle of shower gel. 100% natural and with a nice peach scent. I had gotten it as a sample with something I had ordered.

My mind was on other things, so it was amazing to discover something forgotten after a while. I think when we really look at and examine what we have, we will truly be amazed at how much we do have, but do not use in our lives.

I live in Korea right now. It is very safe compared to the US. Children as young as eight take the bus and subway by themselves. They're not scary places, but a common form of transportation. Crime exists, but there is not a lot of street crime. You still need to use common sense, but the anxiety that exists as a result of high crime is not there. Only the police and law enforcement are allowed to carry guns or own them.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You had the very experience I was talking about - finding something you didn't know (or remember) you had.

I think you're right that we have what we need, even if we don't always get what we want.

I would be most interested to learn more about living in Korea. Do you have a blog?

katrice said...

People like her do it for the joy of her art, not for the money. That is refreshing!

jstele said...

I don't have a blog because I don't really feel compelled to write one. I've tried to write one, but it was contrived. If I ever get the inspiration, I will let you know.

There is a wonderful Korea blog that I frequent.
There are many blogs about Korea, but be careful as many of them are written by bitter and grumpy English teachers. Not that all English teachers are like that. But they can be very hateful and pessimistic.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


If she owns a large sailboat, she doesn't need the money, but that's beside the point.

I was touched and awed by her trust in a stranger, and her work is lovely.


Please do let me know if you decide to start a blog.

I'll check out the one you suggested. Are you an English teacher, too? What is your native country?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


How did I miss your wonderful comment?

Ah have always relahd on the kahndness of sturangahs. :)

jstele said...

Well, I have done some teaching before, but right now I am tutoring. I was born in Korea, but came to the states as a 3 year old.

RED MOJO said...

What a great story. It is so nice to read about such a pleasant encounter. So refreshing.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You've had an interesting life. I wish you had a blog because I'd like to read more about it.


Definitely. It was most unusual in my experience.

jstele said...

Interesting life? :) LOL. I would say my life is boring.

Actually, I do have the blogging bug. I like reading other people's blogs. They are interesting to read. But creating an account of my own life seems boring. After I've lived and experienced something, I usually lose interest in it. I realize that I need to think of another way to blog. I probably wouldn't write about my own experiences, but focus on the way I saw things.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Why don't you give it a try after the New Year when everything has settled down? Assuming it does settle down there.

And if you do, please be sure to give me the link.