(read yesterday's post) I met another man from California at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. He was a park ranger, probably pushing 60. I learned that his wife, who couldn’t have any children, died years ago. He had remembered that as a boy, one of his dreams was to become a park ranger. So, about a year after his beloved passed away, he applied to the National Park Service. He was a successful businessman but this dream, which had been dormant for years, called to him. So off to Alaska he went on his first job as a park ranger. He loved Alaska. It was a piece of heaven. Breathtakingly beautiful. Wished he would have went back for a second year. After Alaska, he worked in Virginia and eventually ended up in Washington, where he has worked for the past five years. Listening to him describe his dream and his journey, you could see the passion and excitement in his eyes. He was living his dream. It had taken him many years to realize, and there were many twists and turns along the way. But he finally was doing something he had always wanted to do. And he was bursting with pride and happiness. (In case you’re wondering, he did talk to me about the monument, which is why he was there in the first place. I just happened to be the only person who was there to listen and like any good journalist, asked tons of questions. I can’t help myself, I guess.)
Our meeting was chance, or was it?
For the second day in a row I had met a man who shared a piece of his life with a complete stranger. As I walked away from both men, thanking them for sharing their stories, it occurred to me that each had a message. For the first man, it was about not quitting, not giving up. For the second man, it was about following your dreams. Two powerful, uplifting messages that gave me hope.
Have you had chance meetings like this? People you meet and afterward you think: “I was supposed to meet this person today.”
I think about all of the people I have met through this blog and other sites, and I feel blessed that we are able to help each other on our literary journeys. Yes, we get down. Yes, we feel like giving up some days. But we won’t because we can’t. Like the first man, quitting is not an option. And like the second man, we must follow our dreams.
I want to thank each of you who visit my blog every day and give me hope and encouragement.