Sunday, May 9, 2010

What're yer intentions son?

The setup: I am a hairstylist by trade. I see many people from all walks of life. I hear many, many stories, and many become fodder for reflection and/or blog material. This one is one of those cases.

I have a dear friend, who is also a client who comes to see me in my salon every now and again. She is not as frequent as many for a variety of reasons. However when she calls, I accommodate. This I do not at all from a “take care of a client” perspective; although that is true to some degree. I do this as I know when she calls, she needs me, some friendship, and often hair is a by-product of our meeting.

My friend/client is an old soul. She is the type of person upon first handshake, you are now old friends. We have been close friends since the day we met. I get her, she gets me.

This day’s appointment revolved around the quarterly beauty overhaul we do: cut, foils, condition, style, a handful of hugs, and lots of conversation. We had the time to speak. It had been a while since we had seen each other. The weather in the Midwest a hindrance as well as her day-to-day life is more challenging than many people experience. Trips to the hair salon, although a necessary trip for you and I, are a most treasured luxury for her, and I am glad to oblige.

We were speaking this day of challenges she felt in not being able to do some things that she used to do; not only socially, but other obligations she did for others that also brought her joy. She mentioned the guilt she felt as if she were letting others down. Sometimes people did not understand her perspective, and her guilt worsened. Why was she able to do these things before, and now they were more cumbersome? “Why” still lingers even though she knows it is what it is.

I concurred with her as I too have encountered recent issues from finance to health, to simply not having the manpower or time to do what I once treasured. Life simply got in the way of what I wanted to do. It is not that I had less of a desire to do some things, and the same with my friend; it is just that in the game of life, the hands we are dealt change from time to time. Sometimes we have to fold, sometimes we call, and sometimes we are too short to place a bet.

In speaking with her I realized that our ability has nothing to do with our intention. There are many things I desire to do. I would love to be rich so I could give most of it away. I wish I were a famous chef, so I could inspire people to feed others (Thanks Jamie Oliver). I would offer rides, clothing, shelter, and most of all healing were it in my abilities. I want to be a successful author. Sadly, on the scale I wish it were, it is not. However, this does not have to hinder my intention behind it. My intention is my leverage forward. I hope even if my resources are diminished, I hope the intentions I have ever increase.

Intentions can be things. Like thoughts, prayers, and other gestures of compassion, if I try to see them as stepping stones; to be able to see the hurdles lesser of “no’s” as opposed to “not now’s.” I will not let go of the intention I have, to do what I can, to the best of my ability.

That led me to reflect on doing my “best.” No one bats a thousand. However we can do our best every time at bat. What I see is that from time to time, our best may fluctuate. Our best efforts are a culmination of a variety of factors. In trying to pursue even a familiar endeavor, we may have circumstances that do not align as well as the last time we attempted something. Things like, health, logistics, timing, rest, environment, people involved, finances, emotion, weather, a total cornucopia of ingredients come together to determine an outcome. Our outcomes are all affected by these. We are often judged by our last “at bat” though.

So it leads us to believe, that even though we do our “best”, at the time we apply it, many things determine what transpires. If we do our best with what we have, it is all we have. We seek leverage from our good intentions, inspiration from above, and apply our best abilities using the components the universe deals us. We should not burden ourselves with the guilt by comparing what our results are now, with what they once were.

She and I reflected on this and were a bit relieved knowing that because our situations have evolved, who we are inside has not. What we would do if we were in control of our cosmic resources would surely produce different results and perhaps sway the way others feel about what we are able to achieve.

My friend is fighting a battle for her life. She has more on her plate than many will ever juggle in a lifetime, yet she feels she is letting others down. Confined to a wheelchair, she puts in more “miles” to help others and bring hope to her fellow man than her able-bodied brethren. To me that is testimony to the depth of one’s soul and character that cannot be judged by tangible benchmarks. Her intention is genuine. Her “best” is always given. Many should follow her lead and be so lucky. Her wheels are simply metal wings.

Once again I reflect that I cannot control my circumstances, but my intentions can flourish in spite of my current resources. I can apply myself, and ask if I am indeed giving my best, applying my sincerest efforts given the circumstances that surround me at any given present. I also realize that the hand dealt to me will vary. I still must play it. But after I play the hand in victory or defeat, another set of cards will come my way allowing me another chance at redemption. Don’t forget to tip the dealer!


Timberwolf123 said...


All we have in life is our best effort. No matter what tools we have & how much we've grown in any given circumstance all we have is our best. If we all "show up" everyday & do our best, we can do amazing things. Too many of us just show up & coast. We think that as long as the boat doesn't rock we're ok but truly we're not.

As far as intentions go, remember to release them & allow God/universe to do with the intention what is perfect for the time. I have found often that if I release the outcome the path may not be what I think it should but I get to the place I want or sometimes even a better place.

Take care my friend & know your best is always good enough!



Duane Scott said...

I love this post as usual Tony. Thank you for taking the time to be her friend.

I've often heard the phrase, "The highway to destruction is paved with good intentions."

But I like your translation better. It makes sense. :)

bigskygirl said...

Excellent writing. I find that I'm just simply NOT as social as I used to be and people take it personally. I just now prefer to stay home more often and feel like I have to drag myself out when I do go. Not sure what it is. Maybe I've just had enough small talk and dancing and helping and running. Time now to breathe a bit and plant flowers and listen to birds...I guess!
Thanks for the thoughtful and thought provoking blog post.