On yesterday's art fair a man with a beautiful leather hat walked by, looking at my stand. You have to understand that I live in a very Christian religious village and with posters of the name of my company Spiritueel Bewust (Spiritually Aware) I get quite some looks and comments. The looks mostly from woman, the comments mostly from men actually.
Anyway, this man walked by. My father being an orthopedic shoemaker, I have a love for leather and handmade articles from leather. So I said to the man: you are wearing a beautiful leather hat. That of course made him stop and come talk to me.
First we spoke about the hat. But when I told him I would love to wear hats, but I dare not as I think they don't look good on me he said: 'Wear a hat if you feel like and wear it as if you never did otherwise. People will love how it looks on you. And if they don't....why give a sh*t?'
This man was in his 70's, wearing a bright blue jogging suit and a buffalo leather cowboy hat and a beautiful smile. He started telling me that since I don't care about having a stand like mine in a village like ours takes courage. Wearing a hat is the same. Then he said: 'You should not care about what people think. The only one you can trust is yourself. I learned that over the past 20 years since my wife lay next to me dead when I woke up one morning.'
I was a little shocked for a split second and then he started telling me he had serious grief for the first ten years. I was in shock again. Grief for 10 years! But then he told me he woke up one morning feeling his wife's cold butt against him. First he thought she was asleep without blankets on her, but when he turned around to pull the blankets over he saw she was dead. Age 52. They were married for 30 years. And 10 years suddenly did not seem that long anymore.
Another beautiful lesson this man taught me yesterday was a metaphor I will likely never forget. He said that it still hurts she is not there. But he compares it to doing the dishes and breaking a glass in the water. If you never take that out, you will cut yourself in the beginning and that will hurt a lot and many times. But the longer the glass is in the water, the less sharp the edges of the glass become. You will still feel them when you do dishes but they will hurt less. And they will always be there.
I hope I will see the man with the hat again some day. I will smile at him and maybe I will even wave my hat at him.