One Tuesday in February, I was waiting in a bus station, when a young man walked up to me. He said “Hi.” I was irritated almost immediately, because I was tired from my mountains of bags I was carrying and my time at the bus station is when I like to think about my life. It’s a serial thinker thing.
He says, “Can I take a selfie with you?” I say, “No.” Fully irritated now. The man, who looks younger than me, gets a bit nervous but goes on to ask me why I didn’t want to take a photo with him. I tell him I don’t like the idea of my photograph going God knows where.
He starts to almost withdraw then goes on to tell me that he is a shy person who generally does not walk up to strangers to say hi let alone ask them to take a selfie with him. I felt horrible. Being an introvert myself, I understand him instantly.
We begin to talk and laugh openly. Our conversation leads to books. He tells me he started reading recently and would like me to recommend some books. I think to myself, I don’t think I’m the best person to ask because I haven’t read anything lately due to my busy days. I sometimes forget to breathe. Just before I can answer, the bus arrives and I tell him we should get going. “That isn’t our bus.” He says. I insist that it was the bus I used the day before and it took me home. He says, “Okay.” And reluctantly follows me.
It was the wrong bus.
We sit at the back of the bus and jump back into the conversation of books. “I haven’t read anything in a while but if I had to recommend a book, it would be ‘The Alchemist’ by Paolo Coelho.” He tells me he is not familiar with the book, so I give him a summary. For those of you who haven’t read The Alchemist, it’s basically a book about following one’s dreams. It follows a young boy on a journey to finding his treasure or ‘destiny.’ The biggest lesson for him is listening to his gut, an inner voice or a “mysterious force,” as the book calls it. He is taught that, “In order to find your treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left you.”
I quote something from the book for him, “To realise one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one.” After saying this, the young man who was sitting next to us looks to us and says, “Sorry for interrupting, I hear you talking about The Alchemist and I’m reading that right now on my phone.”
Mind you, we are on a bus that takes us the long way home. Our trip would take 30 minutes longer but we’d completely forgotten about that debacle.
Our conversation’s newest member is a web designer, self-taught. The shy young man is a photographer, self-taught. We talk about our dreams, aspirations, our personal challenges, our community’s challenges, what we find interesting, what is bothering us and we share advice with one another. We all have projects in mind but we don’t know how to kick start them. What we found, during this entire conversation was one simple thing, one truth, that was common to us all. We wanted to create something that could help others to create something themselves. We all wanted to help the youth in our community in order to allow them to dream bigger, work a bit more and not give up.
I tell them, “it’s funny I should bump into a web designer and a photographer, because I’ve been wanting to set up a website for the longest time now.” They ask me what my website will be about.
At this point, I’m a bit stuck because I’d been thinking about a website for a while now but I never could come up with one concept to go with amongst the hundreds of ideas I have. I felt that I couldn’t really pinpoint what it is that I wanted to work on, but inside, I knew that this was where to start. People would say to me, “Go decide on that one topic and then come pitch the idea.” So I stopped talk about it because I was scared to sound like I didn’t know what I wanted.
Then I heard myself say, “It’s going to be a website where I write about dreams I want to make come true. I want other people’s cooperation in order to make them come true. I want us to make other people’s dreams come true and we should have projects to do in order to make this happen. This is how I serve the people.”
It felt so raw and so truthful. I could finally put my hundreds of ideas into one paragraph and be satisfied everything I wanted to do was covered.
The young men agreed to help me and join me on my projects. The web designer offered to make a site for me. I didn’t end up using his expertise. I went home and decided to educate myself on the basics and 2 weeks later, here it is, Jam Jar.
It’s so funny that The Alchemist brought us together and made us confirm that God leaves omens for you throughout the process, and if you’re patient enough, you’ll see what they mean. That once you opened yourself up a bit more and didn’t ignore that random stranger who disturbed your fatigued presence at the bus stop, you didn’t miss the signs and weren’t left alone experiencing the longest bus ride home
Welcome. We hope your dreams come true.