The Magic Bread
The gift of fulfillment is available to us from the Universe moment to moment. My mind knew this, but what of the feeling? Why am I not feeling the magic of Life all the time? What in me is afraid of feeling the magic, how can I retrieve this magic, and how can I share this lesson and the magic with the world? Here’s a story of discovery:
In the fall of ’83 I moved into a colorful apartment building in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. The most colorful characters in the building happened to live right across the hall.
Eldridge and Thea (not their real names) made their presence known to me the first night after I had moved in. From behind my closed door, I could hear Thea screaming at the top of her lungs while pounding at her door, ” Eldridge, Eldridge, let me in!!!” This went on for about a half an hour until, for a moment there were two people yelling followed by a slammed door and silence.
Much to my chagrin, later that night, Eldridge performed the same ritual with equal intensity. “Thea, Thea, Let me in!!!” also went on for about a half an hour followed by the duet, the slamming door and blissful silence.
The next morning I met Eldridge in person. He knocked on my door and asked to borrow a dollar for a beer. (Uncomfortable silence) ‘I’ the new age teetotaler did not want to support any ‘bad habits’ and anyway, I didn’t want to start any unhealthy dependencies with anyone.
After I said no he gave me a few more chances over the next few weeks. Finally one day he asked me in exasperation if I would give him some food. I asked him to wait for a minute while I looked and found 1/3 of a loaf of health bread in the refrigerator. I couldn’t deny him this, and gave it to him, wondering what was to become of all this.
Later that day I went food shopping around the corner at a Seventh Day Adventist grocery store. I liked going there. I could see the light of God in the clerk (although I couldn’t see it in Eldridge yet). I remembered I was out of bread, and asked for it when I couldn’t find any bread in the store.
“We’re sold out” he said, “but I’ve got some of my own in the fridge. Please take it.” (Magic moment) I said, “Are you sure?” “Absolutely!”
The Universe was telling me something. I looked in the fridge and there was 1/3 of a loaf of health bread! I gratefully took the bread (He didn’t know how gratefully) and went home to a happy lunch.
From that moment on I realized that my relationship with Eldridge was not what I had thought it was and it was important for me to pay attention. I had no idea how to relate to him, except I now knew that it was appropriate to give him food if he asked.
It was uncomfortable for me to think that my neighbor across the hall was angry at me for not giving him what he wanted, and I wanted to “make it all better. There was no “making it all better”, however. Eldridge had no desire to make me feel comfortable.
I tried to talk to him wherever we met, but Eldridge chose to ignore me each time.
What I didn’t see then was that it was my need to feel safe and comfortable that was motivating me to connect with him. I was unconsciously demanding that he conform to my idea of ‘everythings all right’. After some months of trying to say hi to him in the elevator, I realized that he had a right to say hello or not, and it was appropriate for me to honor that right. When I realized this, something changed in the energy between us. It became easier to accept him the way he was.
I still wondered if there was a possibility of a more personable relationship between us and asked the doorman one day about Eldridge’s asking for money. He told me “Eldridge just wants people to know he’s trustworthy. If you loan him a dollar, he’ll return it”.
Soon, events transpired to give me another opportunity. The elevator broke and it took several weeks to get it fixed. In the meantime Those of us on the 12th floor had the opportunity to stay positive while getting our exercise.
As a working musician, I found myself carrying musical equipment up and down the stairs several times a week. One time, meeting Eldridge on the stairs, I had a sense that he saw something in me, carrying my amplifier, and that he had an understanding of who I am. Perhaps we shared more than what appeared on the surface.
After the elevator was fixed, we happened to meet in the hall one night as I was coming home after a gig. He said to me, “They say music soothes the savage beast”. I replied “It does for me, I really love to play.” and we had one of those conversations which make the angels smile.
A few days later, Eldridge asked to borrow a dollar. I happily gave him one, and he repaid me the next day. His ritual of taking turns locking out Thea and being locked out himself continued for several more years until they finally went their separate ways.
Through those years I had many conversations with Eldridge, and I still hold him and Thea warmly in my heart.
To me this is the magic of life. I learned that honoring another’s boundaries is a doorway to happiness. Then, what is given is given freely. I learned also that the boundaries I set for myself made a safe space for me to see my own issues, and eventually come to a place of appropriate friendship with Eldridge.
The magic came as I paid attention to gifts and opportunities from the Universe. Both the free bread and Eldridge’s opening to me came as surprises and confirmations that I had been appropriate in my relationship with him. I’m grateful that the gifts I received had the warmth of the human interaction, but more importantly, that the gifts showed me the greater web of life weaving Heaven on Earth for each of us.