How do you possibly repay someone that makes it possible for you to turn your dream into reality? What do you do when someone has so much faith in your ideas and drive that they provide you with the one factor in the equation you don't have, no questions asked?
Denise is a student at the yoga studio where I teach. She exudes warmth. She came to some of the very first classes I ever taught, when I'm sure my voice didn't emit much confidence and my nerves showed. She was also the first person to tell me, with genuine and heartfelt words, that my ability to teach was a real gift and I could take it as far as I set my sights. And in class, she was the epitome of what a yogi strived to be. Her focus, unmatched; her ability to tailor her body to each cue given, remarkable. You just couldn't help but like her.
We never really talked outside of class much - just her compliments after each Sunday morning sweat-a-thon; she never walked out the door without making direct eye contact and praising me. One morning we struck up a conversation when she asked about my background. We found out we were both lawyers. I learned she lost her husband when her two sons were young. I had just passed the Foreign Service Officer Test that she failed in law school (and that I failed the first go-round, as well). She asked about my future plans, and I spoke about the idea of a non-profit for trauma victims - those with PTSD, prisoners, abused women and kids - basically anyone mindful awareness training, meditation, and yoga therapy could help. I'm guessing I spoke with a lot of passion since I had just come back from a training in L.A. with James Fox of the Prison Yoga Project...I was flush with the glow of making a difference in the world. Denise seemed just as into it as me. It was awesome to talk to someone who didn't just do the regular, "Oh wow, that's great, Katy...good luck." shpeel.
This was three months ago.
Yesterday, I went to Tiffany's noon yoga class. I had thought about skipping it because I was running behind on everything else in life, but I went. Denise was in the class as well, in the row behind me. A lovely lady next to me started small talk, and my non-profit idea came up again. I mentioned I was already volunteering for the Department of Corrections at a community correctional facility, and I hoped to start at the VA and National Guard soon. But, the non-profit application fee is $850, and that was a bit of a stretch for me right now.
I didn't mention that it was not a stretch, but rather an impossibility for me right now...I didn't want sympathy. I had just planned to do some benefit classes for donations...I also didn't mention how much the idea of doing these classes pained me. I hate asking for money, and all the bands I had contacted for the benefit had failed to get back to me...I really didn't want sympathy.
All Denise said was, "Is that how much the registration costs, Katy? $850?" I answered in the affirmative, and class began. The whole conversation pretty much left my mind, but I appreciated the interest from those around me. At the end of class, Denise asked if I had a few minutes. When we walked into the lobby of the studio, she sat next to me on the bench and handed me a check. It was for $850.
My hands covered my face. My chest hit my thighs. My entire body felt warm.
And, I lost it.
I couldn't even talk to her. All I heard Denise say was that she believed in me. She said if she had known this is what was holding me back, she would've given me the check earlier. She said she believed I would change the world. And, she told the non-believer holding the check not to thank her, but to thank god.
So, how do you possibly repay someone that makes it possible for you to turn your dream into reality? You can't. You just do everything you can to do exactly what you said you would.
And, what do you do when someone has so much faith in your ideas and drive that they provide you with the one factor in the equation you don't have, no questions asked? You thank them and whoever else they want you to thank. And, you remember what someone once did for you and how it changed your life forever.