Angels on my Shoulder

December 10, 2018

During my recent trip to Portugal I had several experiences where I felt that synchronicity was at play to the extent that it must be my angels at work helping me. The story I’m going to relate in this article is that of my day trip to the historic town of Sintra, where just when I needed help, it was available to me.

After several attempts to take a group tour on this particular Saturday during my vacation failed, I decided to go it alone. Armed with travel brochures, internet information on the key sights, and information of what not to miss, I left my hotel about 8:30 am with a very positive outlook. I had already mastered the metro system to the point of knowing where the nearest stop was and where to get off, but I didn’t know how to find the connecting train station for the out of town trip to Sintra. Buying the ticket was easy at the ticket booth which was manned with a live person, asking in English is a forte of mine as I don’t speak Portuguese.

angelThe next step was to get off the metro and find the train station. I started to inquire of my fellow metro passengers who either didn’t understand me or didn’t know. This was strange to me since it was with in a short walk of the metro stop. Everything is different when one is in another country and not familiar. On the third try I happened upon a family with an elderly gentleman who seemed to be the local resident and the others, the visitors. In asking this group about the location of the train station, I discovered they were from Poland. I chimed in that my heritage is Polish as my Mother’s father came from Poland in the early 1900s, a town called Silencia. To my surprise, I was told that they came from this same place. I was asking for help from people of my heritage land! As we got off the metro, the elderly gentleman, most likely their father, speaking no English but made to understand my goal from his relatives, pointed the way to the train station. Yes! Mission accomplished!

Having my ticket in hand I quickly found my train on the track already arrived. I barely made it into a seat before the train left so my timing was quite good. As I settled in the seat I had found after searching for one up and down several cars, I noticed French spoken near me.

 In my usual brilliant way, I asked the young woman closest to me “are you from France?” She replied, “yes, we are from Lyon”, referring to the 3 couples in her group. This brief introduction began a conversation about our day in Sintra and planned itineraries. After hearing about the place I wanted to see they changed  their plan and decided to join me. I was thrilled. We all got off the train together and for the next 6 hours became a new unit, wherein I was treated like one of them… something like being an adopted Mom. The young woman had left her 8 month old baby at home for this weekend away with her Mom so perhaps she was in a very nurturing mode.

It turned into a wonderful day for me, where at first I thought I’d be alone I was accompanied by a nice group of friendly people all day while touring interesting sights. We even stopped and had tea together. It was a very warm feeling to chat and interact with these young people for the day. About 3pm we parted company as our desires changed… with me wanting to view the inside of the Pena Palace and their only wanting to see the outside gardens.. We said goodbye with invitations from the young woman to visit Lyon.

About an hour later I walked down the hill, took the bus back to the train station, then the train to the metro and as I was coming up the stairs from the metro station I looked up in amazement… could my eyes be deceiving me? There was the same group of French people looking just as amazed! I knew then that I had been experiencing a divinely inspired day complete with angels on my shoulder to look out for me. How else could I have met the same group back in Lisbon?

Although I had a two week vacation on my own and did some organized tours during that time, some of my best moments were when I just trusted that I’d be ok on my own and went out into the great unknown. It was when I was in the hands of my guides, that I was truly guided.

Comments are always welcome.


Knowing when to let go

January 16, 2013

Relationships as well as friendships are much like marriages; it’s important to know when to let go. It can happen at either end. We all have a choice as to whether we wish to continue to be part of any relationship and either party can decide the time is up. The degree of anguish, hurt, or relief is a matter of which end of things one is on.
friendLe’s take an example. Suppose you’ve been in a very long friendship, say one that has endured for 25 or 30 years. You and your friend have exchanged visits, holiday cards, gone on trips together and talked about each other’s families for all those years. And then one day you begin to have trouble reaching this friend. At first, you figure he/she is just busy. After all, you’ve been friends for so many years and you didn’t have any arguments, what else could it be? So you begin to figure out what the other person is doing that would keep them from responding to you. Perhaps one of their children has been ill, or maybe they’ve been dealing with life issues that they don’t want to bother you with. This begins the excuse stage.

Next comes the worry stage. This is where you really start to wonder why your long-time friend isn’t returning your phone calls and/or emails. You begin to go over the last conversation you had examining how it went. Could there have been some clue that you missed? Why doesn’t he/she get back to you? Is something going on that you haven’t figured out yet?

Then there is the irritation stage. What have I done to deserve this behavior? So you try again. With one last attempt to be nice and give the other person the benefit of the doubt, you write an email, “I know how busy you must have been since I think one of your children is due to be married….”. A few weeks later, a response comes with no salutation, just the news that indeed the daughter or son or whomever did get married, but it happened months before (so guess what? You weren’t invited and I’m only telling you now to get you off my back…. Words in parenthesis are unspoken but implied). Wow. Now you know. It’s final. The relationship no longer has meaning. If your words of congratulations had meaning, then the news would have been provided more timely. People send invitations even to those they know can’t come just to “include” them. At a minimum, they send a notice. Not to receive anything is certainly a realization that one is less than an acquaintance. How did this happen?

When one begins the process of re-evaluation of the relationship, the whole thing begins to unravel. Was it ever a friendship or just a matter of convenience? No response is necessary. No other phone calls will ever be made or answered. It’s done. The realization is complete that the relationship is over. All that is left is to accept that a life-long friend may have been a mirage.

Talk about a life lesson. How can one discern friendship? Perhaps it was there for a while. Perhaps it wasn’t. All we can do is live with it and hope that our new friends are more worthy of our time and attention.


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