Little Reminders When You’re Not Looking For Them

“When you Believe beyond what your eyes can see… signs from Heaven show up to remind you Love never dies.” ~Unknown

What is your favorite movie?

Mine is a movie called “Always” that came out in 1989.  I remember seeing it in the summer of 1990.  To this day it continues to be a movie I enjoy watching. It is a movie about death and moving on and the line between the living and dying. The reason I share this with you is because I was sixteen years old, and it was not the type of movie that was cool for someone my age.  It also points out that I have always been searching for answers about death and what happens after.

This weekend I was reminded of this movie. It was the first Christmas without my dad. It’s not that we spent the holidays together, I did call him, and we would talk for hours about all sorts of things.  Mostly he would share about the past and his memories.  I was missing that call this year and missing him.  The more Christmas events we went to the more meaningless the holiday started to feel for me. 

I was out of town with family friends celebrating Christmas Eve. It was a sunny day and warm for the season 45 degrees. My super husband and I were walking back from going uptown to a cute little store on main street. We were walking along the path by the Minnesota river, with a gorgeous waterfall behind us, geese talking as they floated in the water and ice sheets floating by on their way down stream. It was lovely and I was thinking of my dad. Then, just like in the movie, the oddest thing happened. This burgundy Dodge minivan with a little rust over the wheel pulls up and a little old white man jumps out of the car, “O great you’re here. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get this picture of me with the waterfalls, but I knew someone would be here to help me. “He is saying this as he is handing me his canon digital camera. The car had barely rested in park, and it took me a moment to figure out what was happening. I smiled and took the camera he handed me. He quickly got himself in front of his car and placed nicely with the waterfall behind him. I framed him up in the camera viewer and took five photos of this happy little man on a bright sunny day. He hurried back to me standing next to his car, took the camera from my hands and started to get back into his van. I asked his name and he smiled and told me and then handed me a green envelope from the side of his seat. He smiled again, got in his van and drove away.

My husband and I smiled as we continued our walk back to the house and wondered what all that had been about.

Later that night after the party and we unpacked the truck, I noticed the green envelope and became curious to open it. Inside was a contact card for Vern with his email and phone number and an 8.5 by 11 two-sided sheet of paper with photos of his travels and life in the last year. Photos he had taken of past photos and basically his life story, all there. Photos of him with his wife, him with his friends, him farming.

As the moisture came to the corners of my eyes and my nose started to struggle for air, I found myself overcome with happiness and gratitude for the little white man who had reminded me to enjoy life and celebrate each day.

Here’s to Vern, a man living life in IKIGAI, a life filled with purpose, love and passion.


JoyGenea Schumer
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach and Speaker

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