When I arrived at LAX a few weeks ago I took a shuttle to the apartment I'm staying at in Burbank. I had a very personable driver. It turned out to be only me in the shuttle so the two of us drove along in what started out as silence. He asked me what I was in town for etc. and we started talking. He said some really interesting things that I want to share, because I keep thinking about them and I think they were really special. What I should point out is that he turned out to be an observant faithful religious man, and although I did not share his religion I related to what he was saying and we really had a nice conversation.
Here are the things I now never go a day without thinking about.
1) A person is a diamond.
You can get into trouble, you can make bad decisions. You can be at fault. You may even hurt people you care about. You may be a victim of circumstance or you could just be responsible for some bad choices. But a person is a diamond and no matter how much dirt you bury a diamond in you can always wash it off and it will have lost none of its value.
2) Everyday is your Birthday.
You know the feeling you get on New Years or your Birthday? That hopeful clean slate "this could be the start of something new" feeling? Optimism and reflection abound. Well everyday is a new day. Every day you wake up is a clean slate. It's all about you today. Every day is your birthday.
We spoke about many other things on the car ride but these two things have stuck with me the most. In fact we spoke for a long time until suddenly there was a weighty silence in between his sentences. It was only then that he shared with me the religion he believed in and I could hear in his voice that he was expecting for me to judge him perhaps and lose interest in our conversation. But I didn't. I truly was interested to continue talking and hearing his story. I'm glad I did. While he didn't change my mind about what religion to believe in he reinforced in me a feeling of decency in humanity. He asked me to please pass on what he said although I think he also wanted me to pass on the goodness of his particular religion. But really I don't think religion is the important part here. I think humanity is what is important and when I think about the things we talked about I don't think about the differences of our religion, I think about the sameness of our humanity. He was kind and warm and helped me with my bags. When I got to my apartment I thanked him and shook his hand.