Lessons From Beans

His name was “Beans”.

I don’t know what his real name was.  That’s all I knew.  Everyone I knew called him Beans.

He taught me a lesson.  And I still carry shame thinking about it.

There was another time in my life where I was married to someone else.  I didn’t have any children yet.  I was determined to make my “house” a home.  Because it never felt quite right.  We didn’t have a lot of money.  But we weren’t poor either.  We had a roof.  Money to pay our bills.  Comfort in the form of employment, shelter and food.  But there was no life comfort.  It wasn’t until I was out of there that I realized I was trying to “build” a life by building a house, a home.  It didn’t occur to me then that the structure wasn’t what gave comfort.

I didn’t know that then.  And it took me a long time to figure it out.

A mutual acquaintance, of ours and Beans, was selling a bed frame.  It was a nice bed frame.   I was also kind of clueless about the cost of things.  I wanted a nice bed frame.  I guess I shouldn’t say bed “frame”.   It was the whole shebang.  Headboard and footboard, both with carvings in them.   The seller wanted $300 and was willing to take payments.

Sold!

To us.

Somehow or another Beans was around when we were moving the bed frame to our house.  I was standing outside on the back of someone’s truck.  I don’t even remember who’s truck.  I was looking at the bed lying there in pieces.  I was suddenly struck by the idea that, uhm, I probably could have bought that in a store for the same price, new.  Or maybe even less.

I looked at Beans and said “can you believe he wanted $300 for this!  I can’t believe it.  Do you think it’s worth $300?”

It sure looked different in pieces, on the back of a borrowed truck.

Beans was very quiet for a minute.

Finally I looked at him and quietly he said “it’s what you agreed to pay isn’t it?”.   The other, unspoken words, were very loud in my ears.  The seller didn’t make me buy this.  He gave a price and I agreed.  It was a deal I made.

The visual of that moment is so alive in my head.  It was hot out.   Sunny.  A beautiful day.  Beans was older.  His white hair was pretty against his dark skin.  He was much older than I.  A different generation.  A different race.  We came from different worlds.   But I was too naive to even know that.  It didn’t occur to me that we were different.  His character showed me the difference.    I remember looking at him at that moment.  Seeing him as he must have been seeing me, wondering about me, and who I am or what kind of person I was.  He didn’t lecture me or look at me with anything other than the question about my agreement.  He wasn’t making any judgments.  He was either deciding who I was, or wondering if I knew,  myself,  who I was.  He was teaching me.  And knew it was up to me how I interpreted this very simple lesson.

This was my word.  And my agreement.

We carried the bed in and set it up.

The sellers ended up moving very soon after selling us the bed.  Before I had it paid off.  They never forwarded me their contact information, nor did they return for the payment I owed them.  I never ended up paying them off.  We lost contact.

But I have lived a very long time wanting to pay off that bed.  Even if I ever found the seller I don’t think I could pay the cash, and ever feel like I paid off that bed.

I can’t pay for what I learned.  From a very simple statement that a fella named Beans probably never thought twice about.

But I have thought twice, thrice and thousands of times about.   Every time I’ve ever regretted making a promise or saying I would do something and then wishing I hadn’t.  Or contemplated not following through.  More times than I can count I have remembered Beans asking me “it’s what you agreed to pay isn’t it?”.  Grant it, sometimes I sigh heavily when I remember it was something I agreed to do.  But having made that agreement or commitment I feel an obligation to follow through.  Because of a lesson in character taught to me a very long time ago.

I can see Beans standing by the truck, helping me.  Waiting on me.  To determine who I was.  It’s like I’ve spent a good many moments of my life going back to that moment.  And he and I are still there, always, to go back to.  And what I do now, determines how he sees me, then.   And he’s still looking at me.  No judgement.  He’s just patiently waiting to see who I decide to be.   Everything I do is going to determine who I am, in his eyes, and in mine.  He’s still looking at me.  Still waiting.  Sometimes I make him wait too long.

I don’t want to let him down.   Every time I contemplate a decision about fulfilling who I am  I see him there, still holding back any judgment, still looking at me.

I want to pay off that bed.

And I want to always remember my regret.

So I don’t forget my lesson.

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38 thoughts on “Lessons From Beans

  1. Mixed feelings here Colleen…I do think you learned a valuable lesson and I love the simplicity in the way you were taught it. On the other hand, I don’t think regret is anything you should hold on to. I don’t know how nice the bed frame was, but maybe it was karma that you didn’t end up paying it off.

  2. I agree with Marissa. I think it is karma that you didn’t have to finish paying for the bed. I think you probably paid what it was worth. It’s really strange, the forms that our lessons come from. Beans sounds like a person that is/was very wise.

  3. It’s nice to go back and examine those moments but to dwell on them is not growth. I do the same thing but I’m becoming less guilt ridden. You just have to try your best. And keep learning.

    • Oh I try MoonWatcher51. I don’t necessarily dwell on this lesson, but I do like carrying it with me. I think carrying it, has kept me from picking up extra weight of regret and disappointment over the years. I’ve learned to put many things down. But some things, I think are worth carrying. 🙂

  4. Remarkable how one moment can have such a lasting impression and really affect how we behave and who we become. I have often wondered why some stand out so significantly.

  5. April says:

    What I took (learned) from this is that we should always pay attention to our words. We never know the impact they may have on others.

  6. Very nice read and important lesson!

  7. tric says:

    There lies the difference between youth and maturity. We certainly live and learn and we are all the better for life’s lessons as some learn very little on their journey.
    Congratulations on achieving an A in this lesson.

  8. Awesome story. Great lesson indeed. Life teaches us many lessons, the trick is to use the knowledge and apply it were necessary but most importantly to not forget. In the end our word is all we have and determines our character.
    Happy holidays.

  9. niaaeryn says:

    This is a profound and touching story. Timely too. A lot of lessons there.
    What became of the bed? Just curious, did you donate it or give it away, or sell it? Too bad you cannot find them, but life may have a way of making that happen…maybe. Life does stuff like that sometimes.
    I am sure Beans would be smiling if he could see you now 🙂
    What a lesson…my friend is going through that, as am I. A good reminder of consequence we choose. There is a lot that is our choice, even a non-choice is one. And regret, and integrity, and agreements…so many layers to it all. Profound, thank you for sharing.
    Finals are done. Catching up with the world. Just so you know. Missed you 🙂

    • 🙂 Hello Niaaeryn! Thank you for missing me. That feels good. And I miss you as well. And I thought about you through out the SW release. 😉

      The bed, I kept it for quite a few years, though didn’t use it that long. I sold it. In the same condition I bought it. For much less than it was sold to me, and less that what I actually paid for it. And felt guilty for getting anything from it.

      I do feel like this lesson was ingrained on so many levels because of the multiple layers….and final outcome…..

      • niaaeryn says:

        Aw, thanks and of course I missed you 🙂 Yes , I have a Star Wars plan so all is well. New Year’s Eve, fewer crowds is the hope. 🙂
        Sounds like a lot of lessons and the bed moved on to a someone it w as not wasted so that is good. Still, you should not feel guilty for getting anything from it as when people say free they sometimes pass it by thinking there is something wrong with it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I know the sellers new address. Just send me the balance and I will take care of it.

  11. Val Boyko says:

    Sounds like this is the time to share in order to let it go. Notice what you are holding on to … Does it come from from judgment of right or wrong … Or being open to all the learnings along the way in our somewhat idiotic life ?!?

    • Somewhat idiotic life. 🙂 Rings a bell with me!

      I do want to hold on to this. It doesn’t feel painful, it feels right. It helps keep me focused on the kind of person I want to be. And the kind of person I would hope Beans could see me as.

  12. Colleen I love the way you tell your stories. 🙂 What a great lesson. I think I would like Beans. I know I like you! ❤
    Diana xo

  13. ksbeth says:

    wow, what a lesson and isn’t it interesting where the lessons come from and when we least expect them? and how we never forget them?

  14. reocochran says:

    A man named Beans made a difference in your life, Colleen. I feel you have “evened it up.” There are way more wise words you have shared than you received.
    You don’t need to feel anything but relief and maybe happy you listened. Which showed you cared, to a man who may have not been paid attention to before. Hugs, Robin

  15. Great lesson as you got back then Colleen. Now release your regrets, you have learned how to go on.

  16. Amazing how a simple comment can have such a deep impact on you and your character. Thank goodness it was in a good way.

    • I know. And honestly, I don’t even know what prompted me to make the comment to Beans. But I said it, and I heard his response. And learned the lesson. Like you said, thankfully-a good and powerful way.

  17. Jim McKeever says:

    A classic example of how sometimes a question carries more weight than an answer.

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