The Moment in Bali That Changed Me

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

“Dreams are meant to come true, and it’s the journey of making them happen that makes life so interesting,”

“Dreams are meant to come true, and it’s the journey of making them happen that makes life so interesting,” A thirty something year old Balinese man named Wayan said this to me while I was on the back of his motorcycle. He told me he dreamed of seeing California, where I happen to be from. The strange pattern of life’s synchronicities has and always will be a mystery to me, but I trust that each person who comes my way is a living, breathing lesson. They are a key to unlocking a new layer of understanding.

I asked him what brought him the most joy in life. The smells of incense, rice, and motorcycle fumes swirled around us as we drove throughout the side streets of Canggu. I felt something wet kiss my skin like falling rain, and realized it was the wind blowing back his tears. “I do not know joy, miss. today is my son’s birthday. He died last year. I wanted to buy him a cake to honor his death, but can not afford it as we are 80 million rupiah in debt from his ceremony and bills. So I drive 2 hours down here and work 16 hours. I pray to god everyday to send me happiness.” I was silent. There are certain moments when you feel life hit you all at once with a humbling slam. I wanted to help him, but knew there were no words that could ease his pain. I saw that in the reflection of his eyes in the bike mirror. The strength of his soul was unlike any other, and yet the tears of a broken heart flooded across his eyes.

No one knows what it is to live in the skin of another and experience what they have been through, not in the way they have been through it. If that were possible, I think we would be far kinder to each other. The morning sun rays glimmered along the still reflection of the rice field waters as he slowed to a stop, reaching my hotel. Not knowing what else to do, I gave him the cash I had left in my wallet, which was about 300 thousand rupiah. “Buy your son a cake,” I said. He looked at me with a skeptical expression for what felt like a short eternity, as though assessing something within me. Then his expression warmed, and tears fell from his face again as he accepted the money, holding my small palm with both of his hands for a moment. “Kindness is all we have in this life. I will not forget your gesture.” He drove away without looking back once, and I stood there feeling the weight of his lesson.

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