The Schwan's guy stopped by my house this week. He noted I had been gone for awhile and I explained I had taken a break from book writing and played my primary role "mom" in Puerto Rico. Then he started talking about Shawn. I didn't even know he knew Shawn's first name or anything about our story. I just usually order wild-caught salmon and frozen vegetables from him.
"I wasn't working for Schwans when Shawn died," he told me. "I was actually at the railroad and my co-worker was really bummed out when the accident happened. He's from Lindstrom and his son had Shawn as a DARE officer. I remember this guy, who was kinda rough…never showed emotion, being really sad. He was sad for you and for the loss his son had. I guess his son really liked Shawn."
He was explaining this to me as if Shawn had died last week and I had to do a mental check and tell myself it has been over three years.
"You never know the impact you have on a life…at least I don't think you do," the Schawn's guy continued. I realized I had no idea what his name was. "I wonder if Shawn ever realized how he affected those around him. He probably never knew. I guess we can all do that. We just never know."
How true that we don't comprehend how our lives intersect the days and times and joys and heartaches of someone else's life.
On Thursday, I took my son to school. We all overslept and he missed the bus. Taking advantage of a car-ride we brought an over-sized traditional hand-made Chinese fan, his treasured souvenir from our trip, to show his teacher. It would be perfect as a wall hanging except it is so enormous that I am not sure where to hang it. While we were shopping the tight colonial streets of Old San Juan, Jordan attached himself to this accordion styled artwork made of sandalwood and painted cloth. When folded, it most likely reminds him of a big stick, which he has collected and been fascinated with since he was two years old.
One of his teachers from school is from China and when she saw the fan, she kept oohing and ahhing tracing the design of the dragons with her fingertip.
"He has chosen a powerful image. This is the man and the woman. The husband and the wife. The yin and the yang," she spoke with connection and charm. "This is very traditional to Chinese culture…very symbolic. It means double happiness."
Life continues to have intersections, crossroads…defining moments. Each joint, each juncture is a connection–a meeting point. A relationship.
We just never know.