Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hachland Hill Vineyard and What I Took

I had the privilege of meeting a kindred spirit a couple of weeks ago. As usual, I must digress…life is very busy for me. I am working full time, gardening part time, attend graduate school at night, and have a fully functional home, a husband to keep up with, and a VERY VERY VERY active VERY large golden retriever. See that little picture of cutie when he was around 6 months, well he’s now one year, and weighs in at 108 pounds…no, he’s not fat. He runs 4+ miles a day in this sweltery FL heat. Ok, all that said, when I departed FtB…I have not seen my dearest friend since then. And I have missed her. Thankful for her and all those surrounding her, she is going to have a precious little girl in a month. I went up to Nashville to see her and to attend her baby shower. It was so much fun.

We stayed at Hachland Hill Vineyard, under the care of Phila Hach. If you have never heard of the place, I strongly encourage you to put it at the top of your bucket list. I say the top because Phila is 83. She gets around better than a young person, and has all the wit of many old people combined. She loves people, her life has been filled with beautiful people to mold her. While the whole weekend is a story in and of itself, the one I am writing about today is my Sunday morning lesson. I’m not much of a churchgoer. You pretty much have to drag me there…not really, I just don’t attend unless someone invites me for a ceremony like Mother’s Day or homecoming, etc. not to say that I don’t believe in God, just don’t feel that I have to attend church to believe.

Ok, so Sunday morning, I stumbled downstairs to the smell of coffee. The house was still quiet. I encountered Phila and asked if she slept well, and got the response I’d grown used to in such a short time, “Honey, I always sleep well.” She asked me if I’d enjoyed my visit, and I told her I had. Somehow the comment about how fascinating it must be to meet so many people was thrown in, and she replied simply, “it is better to receive than to give.”

Here I am holding a cup of coffee, scratching cobwebs from my brain, trying to get my lungs to take in some oxygen, and I get this remarkable response! Immediately all cogs began to turn and turn faster, and my eyes came to life. I tilted my chin to the left and my head to the right, furrowed my brow, and looked up into the sky (as if someday it will give me the answer). She began to tell me the following story:

One day a pastor stopped in to stay. He and I were talking and he told me he was working on a sermon. He began to tell me about how it is better to give than to receive. I said to him, “No, no, it is better to receive than to give.” He stood there looking at me, and began telling me the Bible says it is better to give than to receive.

Finally, I told him that you can offer anything material to a person; you can give them advice, but that doesn’t mean they’ll take it. You can only offer. However, you can take whatever you want from someone. If I meet a person, I can take away from them whatever I want. I can take pieces of that person and learn from them. That person can offer me whatever they want to, but that doesn’t mean I have to take it. But, if I want to take a perspective from someone, they cannot stop me. And I take something from everyone I meet. That’s what has made me who I am.

The pastor told me he had a new outlook on that, and that he had, he was compelled to preach that sermon.

Phila had a profound effect on me. She went on to tell me she does not judge. Ok, I’ve met many, many people in my life, and a lot of them tell me that, and very few of them have convinced me that they don’t judge, in fact, perhaps no one, til now. I believe Phila doesn’t judge. Just to walk through the house and pick up the books and see all of the faces that have entered her life. She said she just takes what she wants from each person she meets, and lets them go on about their lives.

I took so much from her and all those I spent time with that weekend. It was so refreshing. I have moved on since then with the mentality that I take something from someone every day. I sometimes have a bad outlook on life, the day, or whatever. But I have always been the kind of person who can meet a rotten scoundrel, and if given 15 minutes or longer, then I can find some qulity in that person that I admire, or can take some learning from. Talking to Phila was like talking to my guru (no, I don’t have one). But if I had one, I would want my guru to be like her (and definitely to COOK like her). She has a great outlook on life, and has a positive attitude about everything. She has been on this earth for a long time, and has seen both the good times and bad. She has walked among aristocrats and has known those not so fortunate. She has celebrated life and death, happiness and sadness, and she has nothing but good things to say.

My current frame of mind is to take something from someone every day and apply it to my life. I challenge you to try this. Here is why I challenge you. I usually see the same people day in and day out. I try not to judge, but either this is my excuse for my personality there’s some truth in it, but I have my own perceptions about everyone in my life. Some of them are good, and some are not so good. I interact with people I don’t like every day. I have, at some point, found something about them that I can take. But it is a challenge, when you see the same people every day, to take something. So, it is my personal challenge, and I challenge you. Tell me what you’ve taken. And celebrate your “goods” , your “pirate booty”.

I think Phila could write her own “Soup for the Soul” and it would sell millions of copies. Hallie, if you read this, tell her to write the book and forget the water!


Dr. Wifey said...

wow! great post, BB. i feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Phila sounds like a cool lady. i'm going to google that Hachland Hill Vineyard right now

Brandy said...

you need to go visit her. we can take a trip this fall...i'm planning on taking my family up. it's big enough you don't have to see the other people but at meals, and well, there seem to be a lot of those, but the food is delic.

Meghan said...

great post, brandy. she is truly so amazing!!