“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
— Dr. Seuss
Every single person is a unique combination of experience and talent that has never been seen before in all of human history. It follows that currently on Planet Earth, there are about seven billion unique stories walking around.
This morning, one of those unique stories wheeled through an intersection in my life.
The intersection was in a garden, the vehicle was a wheelbarrow, and the driver was an 8th grader named Conner.
My daughter Tessa and I had dropped by the Beaverton Giving gardens to help out on a beautiful October morning.
Our job was to move mulch. After working for awhile, Tessa abandoned her wheelbarrow to go talk to another middle school girl. (Imagine, a pre-teen finding another teen more interesting than moving mulch. Gasp!)
Chuckling, I delivered my mulch and headed back to get another load where I found Conner quietly loading up the wheelbarrow my daughter had abandoned. He and I chatted as our shovels dug into the chips. I was not surprised to find that he liked playing soccer and was studying Spanish at school.
But I was surprised to find out that he is also studying Japanese. He told me about the difficulty of the character set and that the language has more than one alphabet.
Still listening, I found out that he not only is studying Japanese but plays violin for the Portland Youth Philharmonic. He has been playing since he was six, and his secret to practicing is the desire to master a piece of music which requires time and patience.
The uniqueness of his story took another twist as he told me he has taken an interest in rugby. He then proceeded to explain to me the importance of a rugby scrum. Not the kind of conversation you might imagine having with a violinist.
We continued to talk and haul loads of mulch. I commented to his mother that she has an exceptional young man on her hands. Her parental pride perked up and a smile crossed her face as she dug her hands into the soil, planting a collard green.
We worked for about two hours, in which time I watched a story unfold about a pile of dirt and mulch being turned into a garden plot to feed others.
But I also learned of another unfolding story.
A story of a polite young man doing unique things to make life a little better, right here on Planet Earth.
Worked at the Beaverton Giving Gardens, moving mulch and listening to a unique story.