A Hindu in a Honda
Revelation often presents itself in a rather sneaky fashion. It leaves sticky notes for you-- high and low in people, places, and things. Then when you least expect it, and perhaps in the most unlikely package, your epiphany happens.
Recently, mine came in the form of my 65-year-old Uber driver, Deepak. A Hindu immigrant from India, Deepak and I talked about many things on that 40-minute drive from my parents home in the suburbs of NYC to LGA. We covered career, family, destiny, relationships, the meaning of life, travel and God. It was probably his pioneer immigrant spirit, the way he spoke with an accent, and his deep love and experience with travel that reminded me of my own father. Now deceased, he was a Christian immigrant from Egypt. He too had an innate love for travel that compelled him to see more countries than most people know exist outside of their humble worlds.
For my dad and Deepak, America was not just another destination in their many travels. It was their destiny-nation. “Your destiny comes with an ease and yet requires movement. Do not let it pass you by,” Deepak said. “Be thoughtful. God has a plan for you.” I smiled and replied, “Yes, I will be sure to set several dates with Destiny where we can sit and talk and plan.”
And as we reflected on the times we followed our hearts in comparison to the times we didn’t, we agreed. There is the (dis)ease of following what expectations are put on you and there is the ease of carving your path because it’s congruent with your destiny.
As we pulled up to the terminal and began our heartfelt goodbyes we mutually honored what we had seen in each other and blessed the other’s tomorrow’s. He genuinely and lovingly said, “You feel like family!”
Dad and I shared these same deep things ... in spirit. I say “in spirit" because somehow in that short goodbye with Deepak I learned that we really are all connected. Somehow as I felt this connection on a deep level with a man that only reminded me of my dad, it helped me see something I had overlooked. The knowing that came as I talked to Deepak brought to my conscious mind what I wasn’t conscious of while my father was still alive; and therein lies the sticky note. I got the note, I read it and I felt it. “We are all connected” even through space and time, and life and death. The question is how conscious are you in that connection.
In the last couple of years as I find myself a business traveler with many homes and many I call family, there are times I have felt like I have no home and no family. A second sticky note dropped. This time on the airplane — "Family is about proximity of the heart". Deepak chose to open his heart to me during that short drive and I responded in kind and opened mine. I experience family when I live with an open heart.
“We will meet again!" he emphatically proclaimed as I gathered my things to leave his Honda. I immediately felt a twinge of discomfort. "This was an unexpectedly beautiful and deeply touching conversation. We went to deep places, but see you again? We aren’t family Deepak, you’re just my Uber driver and I am just your passenger," I thought. And as I write these words just an hour later on the plane to Chicago this is what I have been shown. Deepak and I are family and in my family there is an Uber driver.
After the flight, I stepped into another cab to take the drive to the home I affectionately call “the place I receive my mail.” This time I was expectant. What wonderful message would I find in this one? You’ll never guess what my cabbie said to me in the midst of our initial friendly chit-chat about the weather and traffic. "Margaret, we are all connected."