Hello and good day!
It was a very gloomy afternoon and from the inside of our chocolate shop, I heard a woman just outside the door talking on her phone.
I was attending to several customers, and we had vibrant salsa music playing on a speaker.
The rain was coming down hard outside in sheets that sprayed the sidewalk and street. In spite of all the ambient noise, the increasing intensity of the phone conversation caught my attention.
The woman was standing under an awning just outside of our window.
She held the phone away from her and yelled at it.
"It's my money! I can do what I want with it!"
Then she put the phone back to her ear and shook her head back and forth while listening.
I had the door propped open and everybody inside the shop could hear her.
The customers in the store looked at me and I looked at them and we all wondered about the hubbub and hoped that everything was ok.
"You know what! I'm done! I can't talk to you about this anymore."
She hung up her phone, put it in her purse, and remained in front of our shop, staring out at the grey and the rain.
The people in the store paid and departed and I wished them good cheer as they headed out into the darkness and the wetness of the afternoon.
The shop was empty.
I swept the floor and filled the sample jars and wiped the counters.
I couldn't help but do a little salsa step as I swept. I like to put on salsa music when a day is particularly devoid of light. Salsa music is fast and upbeat and danceable.
It is a nice contrast.
When it is sunny and beautiful out, I go in the other direction and put on soulful, yearning music, accompanied by Latino rhythmed acoustic guitar.
After cleaning, I checked on the woman in the window, and I saw that a friend had joined her, and that they were standing together under the awning.
I poked my head out of the door.
"Would you two like a couple of free hot chocolates?"
They looked at each other.
The friend who had just arrived answered for the both of them.
"Yes please. That would be great."
"With whipped cream?" I asked.
I prepared the hot chocolates and walked back towards the door. As I approached, I heard a brief snippet of their conversation.
"We have all this money now that our dad died. I've always wanted to do philanthropy, but I've never been able to afford it. I'm giving away half of my inheritance to charities, and my brother hates it."
"But it's your money right?"
"Yes, but my brother thinks that he has a right to tell me what to do with it. Every time we talk now, he yells at me about wasting dad's money."
I paused in the middle of our shop to hear how the conversation would play out.
"Why do you take his calls if he is being so mean?"
"He's all the family I have. Mom is gone. Dad is gone. He's my only brother and he's my older brother. I've been looking up to him my entire life. I can't cut him off now. I'd be all alone."
There was a break in the conversation, and I stepped out into the wind and the rain. "Miss, your hot chocolate. Miss, yours."
I gave a little bow and went back inside. I pretended to organize a table near the door so that I could hear the end of the exchange.
Judge me for eavesdropping if you will. I believe that the ends justified the means, as you will soon see.
The friend broke the silence. "For whatever its worth, I think that what you are doing is noble."
"Do you think so? You don't think I am wasting my dad's money?"
"Not at all. I think that you are using your money in a way that makes you happiest, which is what you are supposed to do with an inheritance."
"What am I going to do about my brother?"
"He's your brother, and I don't know him well. You'll have to decide about that for yourself. But I do have one piece of advice that might help you from getting down after you talk to him. Can I tell it to you?"
"Of course. Please do."
"Here's the thing. You can only control yourself. You can't force your brother to change. If he yells and gets mad, that's on him. It's out of your control. Donating the money is something you should feel good about. It doesn't matter what your brother thinks."
The friend continued on.
"Each of us really only has control over our own thoughts and actions. When your brother gets mad, try to ignore it. Just keep doing what you are doing and be happy about it. The same way you can't change your brother's feelings, he also can't change yours. You get to decide about you."
A customer came in just then and right when the customer walked in, a cold hard wind barreled by that splattered rain drops against the window.
The wind misted the two women with rain and now they tipped their hot chocolate cups back, threw the empty cups in an outdoor trash can, and walked away.
I closed the door and resumed attending to customers.
What a blessing it is to have a friend like that.
Can you imagine having to deal with an angry brother all the time and not having a friend to whom you can vent?
It seems to me that this friend was very wise and excellent at giving advice.
It is also a wonderful blessing to have a chocolate shop where these little conversations are always going on and if you listen closely, you can pick up on a lot of wisdom.
You can only do your best and what each of us thinks is best derives from our own unique perception of the world.
You can't control other people, as much as we all wish we could sometimes.
As such, it makes the most sense to base our feelings on our own intentions rather than on other people's opinions about how they think we should act.
Good friends are worth more than just about anything.
A mean brother or sister is a plague.
I'm lucky to have an awesome brother.
And if I see the friend again, I'm going to tell her that I listened in on her conversation and appreciated her advice.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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