Driving Miss Patti

This story is nothing like the movie, but I hope you enjoy it, and take away something meaningful.

Have you ever had the chance to help someone out, or serve their needs, and afterwards you both leave feeling better than when you started. I am going to tell you a short story about an amazing couple, and then share two insights that occurred to me while driving Miss Patti.

Seven years ago, having just moved to the Village of Kohler two months earlier, my beautiful daughter Annika was born. The next day we were able to leave the hospital and bring our first child into our home. Before we could even get to our front door we were greeted by our neighbor Patti bringing treats. This was the first time we had met, and shortly after her husband David joined us. We would spend the afternoon getting to know them, and together cherishing our new baby girl. Over the months that would follow my wife, my daughter, and myself would form an amazing relationship with this couple, and eventually we adopted them as honorary grandparents to Annika.

Sadly David passed away last winter, but our relationship with Patti has not only remained strong, but actually increased in strength, and she knows she can always ask us for help or support. Now Patti is a very capable lady, but she did ask if I would drive with her to get the oil changed in her Acura car. You see, Kohler is a small village, and the nearest Acura dealer is more than an hour drive. I gladly took the morning off of work and drove her to the dealership for this service call. During the drive she shared amazing stories of her recent trip to see Hamilton, the bus tour she used, and the restaurant she dined at. About forty minutes into her passionate telling of these events she stopped, and almost with guilt, apologized for consuming the conversation. She then, without pausing enough for me to interject, asked, “I am sure you had important things you could have been doing this morning”?  I honestly shared with her, this is the best thing I could be doing this morning. We then shared stories back and forth for the remainder of the drive, and for the entire trip home.

Have you ever had an experience like this when serving someone else in love? Here are two things that I took away from this great morning.

#1 Make the most of every moment you have: For me this trip was not about getting the oil changed, or running an errand, it was about getting to spend three hours with someone I love. When we are intentional about the opportunity, and the reason we are doing something, the outcome becomes much different. My focus wasn’t on finishing the task, it was about enjoying the journey. I was not listening to her story to pass time, I was actively listening and engaged; and honestly I was happy for her, and the enjoyment she was able to have with this trip.

#2 Have meaningful conversations: If you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you will start to have deeper conversations that can truly impact your life. Patti is someone that I find easy to talk to, and I am very open and honest with my feelings when we talk. This openness reciprocates, and before long we both have a shimmer in our eyes as we passionately share stories, and build on each other’s thoughts.  I find that I now try to get to this deeper level of communication with more of the people I interact with, and I do this by being open and slightly vulnerable as I share myself with them. This sure beats talking about the weather, or the most recent news.

I wish you the best.  Keep making the most of the moments you have…

-Douglas Diemel

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