An Angel in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is like a cute fake town that comes right out of a movie. There are cute stone houses, flowers everywhere, children playing outside and people riding bicycles all around. A friend and I decided to spend a few days there to visit some friends and explore a bit. On the second day, we saw most of the sights in a few hours, as everything is pretty close together. That night, we went out like we were locals. By that, I mean wandering the non-touristy areas looking for hidden bars with a local crowd all sitting at the bar, talking to the bartender.
There are some local bars where you sit down and immediately feel like an outsider. The other type, you walk in and immediately feel like you are home. Luckily, the latter was the type we happened to find, although it also could be because we were in Amsterdam where everyone sits on their doorstep and waves to you as you ride your bicycle past.
We sat down at the bar and the group next to us immediately introduced themselves. They were extremely friendly, telling us their life stories after only a few minutes. I think the guy talking to me was rolling (on ecstasy or something similar), mostly because he kept rubbing his head against the side of mine as he told me stories of his childhood. I didn’t mind since he had good energy and could tell he was really feeling connected to me. Welcome to Amsterdam, the land of love and connection.
My favorite story that he shared with me was about his mother. He has so much love for her. So much that I could feel it radiating off of him. This might have been intensified by the drugs but was a real genuine love nonetheless. He explained how he spent his childhood thinking his father was a big shot CEO. His father didn’t live with him, but remembers calling him on the phone and saying “Hello, can I please speak with Mr. so and so.” The lady on the other end of the phone would respond, “Oh why yes, of course” and put his dad on the line.
It wasn’t until he was 12 years old that he found out his father was an addict who spent his time in and out of jail and going to rehab. His mom didn’t want him growing up thinking badly of his father or not having someone to look up to. She also had to quit her dream job to stay close to home and take care of him. Instead of being mad at his mom for hiding this from him, he understood that everything she did was to protect him and out of the love she had for him. It made him love and appreciate her even more.
This really stuck with me. I am a huge believer in honesty and always keeping it real with people. I think had the situation have happened to me, I would have initially been hurt that my mom didn’t respect me enough to think I could handle the truth. I might have let my ego step up and take me for a ride questioning what else she had lied to me about. Me, me, me (Ego, ego, ego).
The guy telling me this story didn’t even consider these types of thoughts. He surpassed them and went straight through to being able to see the love that filled his mom’s intentions. He never stopped to examine if he agreed or disagreed with her actions. Instead, he chose the perspective of love. This was so beautiful to me. It was such a good reminder of how easily situations like this can trigger us to put up walls to protect us. Instead of thinking about himself, he thought about her. The pain she must have felt losing her husband, giving up her dream and putting in all of the effort to protect her son so that he could have a good life.
What a wonderful story and such a powerful love and appreciation to feel. It will forever remind me to look at situations like this with those I love and before reacting, examine their motives. Did they do it out of love? Or to protect their own ego? And then respond accordingly.
I am thankful I met him. I do not even know his name but I will never forget his story. Traveling is not just about seeing new places. It is about the journey. The people you meet along the way. The new perspectives you gain. It is a growing experience on so many levels. Luckily, you don’t have to go far to have these types of experiences. They are all around you if you.