Welcome to MJ Dakota's Blog, I Am Infinite.

When we live our life in spiritual balance with the universe, we then know that we are not limited by our reality beliefs, our egos, but we are Infinite; limitless because the Spirit flows through and within us all.

This is a journal of a path to Spiritual Balance. A path of discovery, learning, stumbling and uniting with the Devine Spirit in each of us and the universe.

I wish to share my travels of late with all who are searching for their magical something. That 'click', that grandest of grand aha! moment.

Thank you for stopping by

Sending Happy Thoughts and Smiles
MJ Dakota

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's What You Leave Behind

Written By: Scott Weiler

"It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember."

That is what my old neighbor lady used to tell me. She sat on the porch for ever. At least it felt like forever to me. I had to pass by her every time I went in and out of my house. Our porches where side by side and there was no way to get by her without her saying something.

Her eyes always seem to hold and measure. I never liked that feeling. I didn’t know any old people. All my grandparents died when I was very young. The only old person that I ever had near me was this neighbor lady. Truth is, she scared me a little. Her skin was dark; very dark. She always had an old lady dress on. That's what everyone called them. Short sleeved, floral printed, to-the-ankle kind of dresses. You would never see anyone but an old lady wearing them. I don't even know where they get them. Do they have old lady dress stores tucked away someplace where only old ladies go to shop? I didn't know and that was okay with me.

"It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember."

What a thing to say. My mom used to tell me not to fuss about her. That she was a harmless old lady and that I needed to show her my manners. That old people shouldn’t be alone and it wouldn’t hurt me to maybe say "hello" once in a while. I thought my mom was a little freaked out by her too, only she would never in a million years admit it. Not in a million. I was wrong.

I only ever heard her laugh once; the old lady on the porch. I mean a real laugh and not just a chuckle. I was desperate for money because I wanted to go to the movies to see a show that a girl named Laura was going to be at. I didn't care so much for the show. It was more Laura I wanted to be near to. I was young, maybe eight or nine, and I knew that boys were not suppose to like girls; not yet. It was taboo, girl cooties and all.

My mom wouldn't give up the money for the show because we were being 'money conscious'. So, I got it in my head that if I prayed hard enough to God, I would be given the money to go see Laura...ah, I mean the show. I had ran outside past the old lady to the side of our porch. It was secluded enough there that I had figured no one would be the wiser if it worked. Of course, praying hard translated to praying loud in my understanding. So I prayed hard enough that the old lady on the porch heard. An oversight I missed in my excitement that God was going to give me a buck fifty. No sooner did I finish my loud prayers, I felt something large move then fall from my ear. I thought a gold nugget came to me from God and I was ecstatic. I jumped around like a happy fool. One might have thought I had won the lottery...which I thought I did. Turns out it was just a chunk of ear wax. In my jumping around, it broke into pieces and revealed its true nature.

The old lady had moved from her usual position on the porch over to our railing and had watched the whole show. She barked out laughter that was from the belly. Those kinds of laughs always sound the same to me. She didn't say a word. She probably couldn't she was laughing so hard. I felt humiliated and silly. There was no show for me on that occasion. I guess it turns out I was the show.

Her eyes always seem to have a shine of amusement mixed in with the measuring after that day. Ah, growing pains. That is what I like to think of memories like that one. Painful but only in ego.

"It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember."

When I was older, about fourteen, I played some football for my school team. I fancied myself a good player. Maybe even a great player. I thought I might end up one day in the NFL. I was all of a hundred and forty-five pounds then and that was with my uniform on. I was on the first string on the defensive line. I was a defensive end. My job was to to keep the play on the inside of the line or to sometimes rush the opposing quarter-back. It was glorious to sack a QB. A feat I only accomplished once. Unfortunately, I broke my collar bone in that one glorious moment. That ended my football career as my mother would not let me play that sport again. Needless to say, I was angry about that. My mom didn’t understand that I was to be a great football player. I could not get her to listen to reason.

That summer while my shoulder healed and I was reduced to walking around with a sling on my arm, I found a new friend that I never saw coming. I stayed around the house quite a bit, mom’s rules, and began sitting on the porch along with the old lady. All those years she had been around and I noticed she didn’t seem to change at all. I mean the appearance of her. She seemed to have gotten old a long time ago but then just stopped getting older. That summer I was amazed to find that the old lady who haunted the porch was actually a real person and she just knew things. I mean she knew everything. And she was fascinating.

Our friendship started slowly at first but when we broke through an invisible barrier, it went like wild fire. I actually started to look forward to seeing the old lady daily. I even found myself making excuses with my other friends to try to get home to hang out with that old girl. My mom noticed and never said a word about it. She would just look at me and look toward the old girl's perch on the porch, like she could see through the walls at her, then look back to me, give me a small smile and pull my ear. Moms have a language of their own in how they move their mouths. That small smile coupled with the ear tug was her way of saying she thought it was very good that me and the old girl kept each other company. She not only approved, she started to bake treats for me to bring out to the old girl. Those treats where just for her and I. Nobody else got to touch them. That made me feel special and I think the old girl thought it very nice to. She always ate those treats up like there was no tomorrow. That in itself is a memory I am quite fond of.

"It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember."

The old girl and I talked about everything and anything. Subjects ranging from school stuff to sports to the universe. There was nothing she didn’t know about and she could take the most blandest subject, like mathematics, and transform it into something fun and adventurous. She was magical that way. It is funny how in all the conversations we had, never once did it occur to me to ask how she knew so much. She had to have been a teacher or something I would guess when I think back now. I guess that is how young people are wired, too caught up in the moment to think about what the moment was constructed of.

The first christmas of our friendship, I found out where old ladies bought their floral dresses. I shoveled snow and walked a bunch of dogs and borrowed on my honor from my mom and collected enough money to buy the old girl a new floral dress and a warm scarf. I wrapped them myself and made a card for her. We sat outside even in the winter months and although she never seemed to mind the cold, I was always a little worried she might catch chill and get sick. I was so proud to give her the gifts on Christmas morning. I watched her open them, the scarf first, then the dress. She didn’t say a word. She held them up to give them a good look. Then she wrapped the scarf around her shoulders, looked over to me, smiled a warm smile that came from deep inside of her and allowed a single tear to fall from her shiny eyes. I thought my heart was going to burst I was so proud that she liked the gifts I gave. I think that is when I realized I had come to love her like she was my own Grandma.
She had appeared in my life at the best time to show me what treasure old people are and how it felt to love and be loved by one who has lived life and wants only to share all the lessons learnt. And I learned a lot from that old girl.

"It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember."

Time marched on and I grew older. The old girl stayed the same; just like she always had. I started dating and it was would-be disaster after disaster if it wasn’t for the guidance of my friend. She was able to help me understand what it was the girls I liked really wanted to hear said and how they wanted to be treated. She taught me how to respect what it means to be in a relationship. My mom had instilled plenty of values when I was young, but its funny what you dismiss from your parents when you are older. I think it is when the idea of parents being flawless and in-human meet the idea that mom and dad are just people who do people things just like everyone else. The old girl bridged the gap for me and kept me in line with my mom’s taught values. For what ever reason, the old girl didn’t fall in the same category as parents did. She saved me from a lot of grief I am sure.

Our conversations were as good as they ever were but life started to bump into me more and that meant I spent less time with her. We had three solid years together though. And she always was there for me. She walked the high roads with me and didn’t abandon me when I walked the low roads. A better friend there was not. I trusted her completely.

The day I packed up and left for college, saying good bye to the old girl was the hardest thing I had to do. I told her I would write like we were pen-pals and it would be fun. She smiled and patted my arm. She told me that I wouldn’t have time for old ladies and that I would be too busy learning and living life. She told me she had watched me as a boy grow into a man and she was proud of the man I had become. She said I was to go out there into the world and make my mark on it. She said, "It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember. Give them something to write about so they do remember."

I didn’t know why I cried then. I just did. She was always full of those warm smiles. Those smiles could melt snow. She gave me one of them as she hugged me good-bye. Keep in mind, she was always on the porch before me and only went in her house after I had left her company. That was the only time I had ever seen her leave the porch and go inside her house; leaving me alone on the porch. It wasn’t till she walked in that I noticed she was wearing the dress I gave her for Christmas on the first year of our friendship. There was a sadness I couldn’t name at that time. I understood it all too soon.

"It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember."

She died in my first year away at school. My mom came to the school herself. It was a long drive for her and she had to use some of her vacation time to do it, but she wanted to tell me herself. She wanted to be there when I learned of the old girl’s death cause she knew I would need someone who understood what she meant to me there with me. I took it hard. I cried because she wasn’t suppose to die yet. I hadn’t sent her a single letter as pen-pals cause I was too busy to take the time to write one. There was so much I wanted to tell her about. She wasn’t suppose to die because she was my friend and I wasn’t there to even know she was sick. I cried because a part of me knew I wouldn’t see her again the day she said good-bye and left me on the porch alone. I cried and my mother held me like she did when I was a small child.

My mother and I went to the funeral. I arranged time off school and some extensions for some assignments due. The school was very understanding. I think that may have been my mother’s doings. The funeral was small. The old girl had few relatives and few friends. I recognized some of them from the visits they would share with us on the porch. I dressed in my best suit and brought the biggest bouquet of flowers I could find. The ceremony was short and she was placed in the ground in a cemetery not far from our house. The day was warm and sunny and her place of rest was beneath a large maple tree. It was a pretty spot for her to rest in. She never had a whole lot. What she did have, she left to her friends. For me, she left some old books that she knew I loved, a ring that I wear to this day and never take off, and a scarf. It was the scarf I had given her that first Christmas. It held her scent for the longest time. I use that scarf every winter and her smell has faded from it, but it always makes me think of her.

She purchased a small tomb stone to sit over her resting place. On that tomb stone the inscription said, "It's not what you bring with you, its what you leave behind that people remember." She left behind so much and I remember. She taught me the value of people and the value of our elders. She taught me the brand of love that only seasoned people can offer. She helped shape the man I am now and that will help shape the children I will have and their children too. I miss her and I wanted to bring her out into the world so the rest of you could have the chance to know her a little. Maybe some of what I have written will stick in your head and you will remember her to. After all, it isn’t about what you bring with you in this world, its the people you effect and change that is remembered.

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