You Are an Utterly Precious Gift of God

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FreeHugs6143Indigo clouds hovered over Boulder, threatening heavy rain and severe thunderstorms. Typically I like this kind of weather, but yesterday I’d planned a Free Hugs event to take place on the Pearl Street Mall (outdoors for those of you not familiar with the Boulder area). It sprinkled a short bit and my 14 year old son, his friend, a friend of mine and I held our Free Hugs signs and let the hugging begin. As anyone who has participated in Free Hugs, it is very inspiring and such a simple way to spread joy.

After an hour passed by, I noticed an attractive woman of about 70 years, wearing large dark sunglasses, situate her wheel chair twenty feet from where I stood. She smoked a cigarette. I have not yet quit smoking. I told my son and his friend that I was going to go join this woman for a cigarette.

“Do you mind if I smoke an evil cigarette with you?” I asked.

She laughed. “Please do.”

I detected a slight sophisticated southern accent in her voice. She wore a stylish jacket and black slacks. Her dark hair shined—not a hair out of place. I lit my cigarette and we discussed the run on rainy weather we were having. I told her that I lived in Fort Collins (an hour north of Boulder). We both agreed it was nice that it was only overcast at the present moment. While we continued this small chat, the woman in the wheel chair stubbed out her cigarette. Almost immediately a man who had been standing at a nearby kiosk marched right up to the two of us—talking while marching.

“Okay. That’s it. My customers don’t want to smell your cigarettes.” Instantly I stubbed out my cigarette and showed it to the man. He continued, “You know Boulder is trying to pass a law about smoking outside. You’d think you would have more consideration.”

After putting my hands together in the Namaste prayer fashion, I said, “I put the cigarette out. It’s over. I apologize.”

“What’s with you people?” the man asked. “You’ve been there for an hour smoking.”

I held up the snuffed out cigarette as he belabored the point. “Sir, I’m basically a good person and I do have a fault. I smoke. As soon as you said something I put the cigarette out and neither of us has been here for more than a minute or two.”

The woman in the wheel chair raised her hand in a sign of “stop” to the man. She put her hand on my arm. “Ignore him. So tell me about what you are doing over there with the free hugs.”

“Really, I said, “it’s about making yourself and others feel good. Some people come running for the hugs, some avoid us, others want a hug and their picture taken while giving us a hug. Several people from around the world with whom I work have recently returned from South Africa where we presented Archbishop Desmond Tutu with a Spiritual Leadership award.”

The woman placed her hand over her heart. “Child, you are so blessed. South Africa! Archbishop Desmond Tutu! Do you believe in chance meetings?”

“No ma’am, I do not.”

“Neither do I. What is your name?” she asked.

I told her and asked her name.

“My name is Patricia Jeanene Dimick.” (For privacy this is not the name she gave me.) Patricia enunciated each syllable of each name with such power and grace all at once. “I used to be beautiful. That’s in the past. I’m 71. My daughter died—oh what a loss—and left behind two small children. I had open heart surgery six months ago. My marriage isn’t what I’d like it to be. I have a staff infection in my leg—the reason I’m in this wheelchair right now.”

The southern accent gave such a passionate flavor to this list of less than happy circumstances. I couldn’t see her eyes through the dark sun glasses so I wasn’t sure of her state.

“Patricia, you still are beautiful—”

“I’m a simpleton and I’ll be the first to tell anyone. It’s all so simple. A free hug. A smile. Our friend over there at the kiosk doesn’t get that it’s so simple. With all of the things I just told you, I still wake up every morning and say ‘thank you, God.’”

I bent over and hugged Patricia. “It is simple.”

“Child, you have made my day.”

“It has been an honor to speak with you today, Patricia. I’m going to give you something.”

I walked over to where my flyers about unity and Oneness lie on the brick wall and picked one up and walked back to Patricia. After writing my name and email address on the flyer, I told Patricia to contact me. “Look at Humanity’s Team website. I think you’ll like it.”

“I don’t fuss with computers.”

I took the flyer back and wrote my phone number on it and handed it back to her, pointing out the picture of myself with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. “I’m helping to present the award to him here.”

Patricia raised her sleeves to show me her goose bumps. “Those are real.”

“I have to go Patricia, but you call me some time. And before I go, I’m going to leave you with the words that Archbishop Tutu left with those of us presenting him the award.” I held both of Patricia’s hands in mine and leaned my face close into hers. “You are a precious gift of God. You are an utterly precious gift. God loves you like you are the only person on the earth. Now, go be who you are—go be who you are.”

Patricia raised her sun glasses to show me the tears in her eyes. “This is joy. Today is destiny. If I died right this minute, I’d die happy.”

I hugged her again and assured her that she had made my day as well. It really is simple.

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Frankfurt Germany, Airport

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airportfrank1Why are you going to South Africa? This is a question that has come up more thanairportfrank2 once. I will briefly give an update here, in Frankfurt, while sitting across from the Duty Free shop, waiting for the next flight, the one which whisks me through the air to the southern hemisphere where I will meet in person manby people with whom I’ve spoken over the phone for the past year and a half…but not for several more hours.

Several years ago I met Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God books at a Celebrate Your Life Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. When Neale spoke he spoke of Gandhi’s famous line, “Be the Change You Wish to See.” During this talk he asked if anyone in the room would like to help him with “Being the Change.” Both my husband and a couple of dozen other people stood, showing their interest. Neale began The Group of 1000. He quoted Margret Mead, that never has it been any other way; that it has always been a small handful of people that change the world.

Immediately upon leaving the room, my husband and I went back to our hotel room and signed up for The Group of 1000. Rita Curtis, director of The Group of 1000, called me a couple of days later welcoming me to the group. She then asked if I’d like to help her call people from all over the world to welcome them aboard. Yes, yes, yes. Neale called me a couple of days later thanking me for stepping up to the plate.

Eventually, I worked my way to being on the board of directors and ended up making friends from all over the world.

About a year and a half ago, Steve Farrell, Worldwide Coordinating Director of Humanity’s Team—a not for profit group focusing on Awakening the World to Oneness (another group founded by Neale Donald Walsch) moved to Colorado. Steve and I had met before, but not in person. Steve asked me if I would help him put on an event in Colorado featuring Neale. Of course I would. I had no idea how much effort goes into putting on such an event, but it was well worth it.

Given that my family and I have known Neale for some time by this event about to take place in Boulder, my then “soon to be husband” said, “why don’t we ask Neale if he will officiate at our marriage ceremony while he is in town. Neale said he’d be honored. Very informal affair, but just what Randy and I wanted.

NealemarryingAfter the event featuring Neale and the marriage ceremony, Steve asked me if I would come to work for him to assist with donor services with Humanity’s Team. Yes! Then I volunteered to be of any other help I could be on my own time. Steve offered me the position of Humanity’s Team Worldwide Newsletter editor which I’ve been doing for over a year now. In addition, I’m now a member of the world wide support team, on a few other committees, one of which was helping organize different facets of this year’s annual International Oneness Summit (Anna-Mari, from South Africa gets the major credit for this upcoming event…you’ll meet her later).

While this committee went through a short list of names of who we would ask …we decided to think from the place of possibility. We already knew the Summit was going to take place in South Africa…hmmm. Think BIG. We asked Archbishop Desmond Tutu if he would accept our award. We believed it to be a long shot. “Yes,” was his answer…but what if we had never asked!

Many country coordinators who represent nearly 20,000 teammates from around the world are gathering in South Africa…some have arrived today…some of us will arrive tomorrow.

Saturday, April 18, in Pretoria, South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu WILL receive the award. I’ll keep youdt-signing-petition_0 all posted. Along with this event, we will have gatherings over the next two weeks sharing what is going in different parts of the world regarding Humanity’s Team, visit Soweto (where Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu grew up), go on a couple of safaris, and generally have a marvelous time.

That was a little longer than I anticipated…please comment and ask questions on the blog and I’ll get back with more answers as more questions come along.

Internet connectivity is spotty here…

love
nannette

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One Week from Tonight . . .

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One week from tonight I will sit aboard an airplane and travel to Germany. It seems a bit of a circuitous route, I agree. Nine hours. I have James Michner’s Covenant, about South Africa, to finish reading. Actually, I plan on resting, deep sleep, curled into the window seat, dreaming of meeting people in person for the first time with whom I’ve been in near daily contact by phone, email, facebook and twitter for well over a year. I foresee taking off my shoes so that my bare will meet the South African earth. I will throw my arms in the air and be grateful. Also I will imagine Humanity’s Team presenting this award to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and listening closely to his words of Oneness, what is called ubuntu in South Africa. And of course I’ll see myself with my official safari hat, riding in a jeep, walking in the bush and seeing animals I’ve only seen in zoos or on television.

Speaking of safaris . . . check this site out (below). Watch live feed of safaris in South Africa. Around 9:30pm MDT the sun is coming up and around 10pm MDT the jeep takes off with a camera on board. Yesterday I saw an elephant, zebras and hyenas. It’s fascinating. And in the morning here in the states, if you tune in, you’ll see early evening and night safaris. In between there is live camera just waiting for the wildlife to wander through! It’s very compelling (scroll down).

Off to bed to get some rest. Must start packing!

hugs to you all,
nannette

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