The Encounter and Beyond

My friend Alex sent me a link to a Coca Cola commercial aired in Brazil this year. At first I didn’t think much of it and felt a little apprehensive since I am not a fan of soda (Coca Cola especially). But I figured to check it out of curiosity. Was I surprised! Had it not been for the very end, I wouldn’t have never known it was a Coca Cola commercial. Brand name aside, the message was what captured my attention. It was remarkably beautiful and deeply profound. It brought an important memory from last year, which I would like to share with you here (please watch the commercial first and then read the rest of my blog).

In the summer of 2008, shortly after I got pregnant with Denzin, I was at Whole Foods looking to purchase my first prenatal vitamins. As I was carefully reading the labels a man walked by me and engaged in a friendly conversation. After he learned that I was pregnant he made an unexpected comment. Appearing in his 40s, he said that he doesn’t have any children but considering the present economy, he would never want to have children. Shocked by his reaction, I asked why. He explained that the whole world is getting worse by the day and it’s depressing to live, let alone bring a child into this mess. Then he wished me good luck and we separated.

That encounter remained dormant in my mind until I saw the Coca Cola commercial today, coincidentally titled “Encounter.” Based on a true story, the commercial features an old man at the age of 102 on his way to meet his soon-to-be-born great grandchild. As we follow his trip from the country to the city, he narrates what he’s learned about life. Right before his great grandson is about to enter this world he says the following:

“You will ask what is the reason I’ve come to visit you today. It’s because most people will say, what a bad moment you’ve chosen to come into the world. We are in crisis, that’s not a good thing. Well, it will make you stronger. I’ve lived worse moments than this one, but in the end, you’ll remember only good things. Don’t waste time in nonsense, there is plenty of it. And go find what makes you happy while you can since time slips away very quickly.”

I admit I shed a tear at that revelation. It brought out that memory about the mystery man in Whole Foods last summer. I felt sadness for him, for his lack of perspective on life, for his inability to see the beauty of new life in spite of turmoil and uncertainty. I wonder how many other people, overtaken by fear, decide not to have children today because they observe the world only through a negative lens.

Then I hear the news of yet another parent who dropped into a deep depression and decided to take the lives of his/her children and then end theirs. All because they lost their job and suddenly don’t have money to provide any food and shelter to their families. How did those parents get into such a deep emotional abyss where they chose death over life? It’s heartbreaking.

My boyfriend Mark and I are both unemployed at the moment due to reasons that were beyond our control. It’s a challenging period as I’m sure many families and individuals find themselves to be in the same situation. We look for jobs every day and keep optimistic that our current situation is only temporary. After the storm there is always sunshine and occasionally, a beautiful rainbow.

As for having a child in the midst of a global financial crisis and skyrocketing unemployment rate, well, as the grandfather on the commercial said, one day we will only remember the good moments. There isn’t a day that I don’t enjoy being a mom to my precious son. He’s brought so much happiness and joy not only to Mark and I, but also to our families. We all have changed and become much closer because of this new addition. We cannot imagine our lives any other way.

If one needs hope, he only needs to look into the eyes of a child. Seldom do we find such innocence and purity in any other place. No matter how bad life may get, when you are with your child(ren) you realize what truly matters. They are not just another expense that you have to deal with, as I observe some parents say. On the contrary, they are those who will carry the flame of hope into the new world. They are the ones who will change it. If you ask me, there has never been a better time to have a child than now.

Β© 2009 Zoe Vaklinova – All Rights Reserved

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10 thoughts on “The Encounter and Beyond

  1. Judy Gries

    KUDOS Zoe n Mark…..people have placed their PRIORITIES in the wrong place..as you say…money..jobs..materialistic needs which I know we need these in many ways to survive n provide a good life for our family but as you say..you n Mark presently could not even imagine your life without Denzin…he has brought you much joy n happiness n in many ways…has kept you BOTH FOCUSED on what is TRULY IMPORTANT in this life n world…..Congrats for always speaking out n standing up for what you believe in:)..

    Wishing you ..Mark..n Denzin the best…there is always a reason for good n bad things that happen in our life…as you say..we truly have no control sometimes as to what happens to us but we must keep the faith in a Higher Power who is ALWAYS looking out for us!!

    Ly….Judy..Your Nashville Friend….

  2. Zoe,
    As always, very touching. I have to agree with you…now, but only after watching this spot. i was the guy in whole foods, I was the one not wanting to bring a child into our world.
    Thank you for sharing and thank you for being you!
    Love & Light,
    Steven

  3. Kat

    Zoe, this was brilliant. YES PERIOD.

    I know you and M are struggling today in the financial career areas of your lives… BUT have faith that your life’s “Purpose” and plan has been set in stone on a path, and it is the up and down journey thru flatlands, rocks and ridges that finally leads us to the path that is ours and ours alone…and when you reach it you will recognize the footprints in the path as your very own…

    You are so close I bet if you closed your eyes you could taste it… and I am sure writing is on your path… just as I just took a breathe..

    The one thing very blatant from the story above is that this gentleman was self centered and narrow minded…and yet had the odacity to share it….so openly and freely with a stranger who is with child… I would have turned and said “wow” I feel sorry for you…. because inside me may be an artist, a lawyer, a dreamer, a muscian, a philosopher, an engineer, a doctor, a teacher, a dad, a brother, an inventor, the person that cures cancer, or who saves another person’s life by cirmcumstance… or just an average joe with a smile that will warm another’s heart…. but each one of them so very important for the other on earth….NOT to mention, those before us lived in a depression not a recession…. and as history has shown this too shall pass…and of course being me I would have stuck out my tongue flipped and turned and stuck my butt up ….. I know I know. Class?? lol..

    You see he see’s only his path, and perhaps it was best he did not have children because he would have blocked the beautiful, spectacular innocence and wonderment the world hold’s in the eyes of a child such as Denzin and what child deserves that!

    It should be a requirment that every five years on earth after 25, we so called “Adults” have to take a refresher course that consists of playing in the mud, singing and dancing out loud, painting with our fingers, and just not caring what others think… just to keep our hearts open to the really “deep” experiences life has to offer and not the superficial one’s people tend to get all wrapped up in..

    Simply put Zoe, we come into this world naked, and if we leave with nothing but nakedness does it matter? if inbetween the two points we actually lived? what was the name of the last flower you stopped and smelled? Oh soon Denzin will be old enough where each day you too will see life through a whole new set of eyes.. “The World As Denzin See’s it by Mommy Zoe”

    God Bless You Three Beautiful Souls.. and all of your family and friends..

    Kat

  4. Gwenn Henkel

    Zoe, Denzin is a VERY lucky little baby boy! Bless you for seeing the silver lining always! He will learn that from you and your family.
    Blessings,
    Gwenn

  5. @ Judy ~ you and I live completely diferent lives. Still we are able to connect and share God’s wisdom. Thank you for always supporting and encouraging Mark and I. We are fortunate to have a friend such as yourself. πŸ™‚

    @ Steven ~ even if a natural child is not in your cards, you could be a father to foster children. I remember seeing pictures of you at an orphanage in Romania. I applaud you for sharing your love and hope you’ll continue doing so. πŸ™‚

    @Kat ~ Your would-be reaction to the stranger was so entertaining to read. As much as I agree, I also can see why he said those words. Not everyone is meant to have children. Still that shouldn’t prevent him from seeing the blessing of a new life. He was probably very depressed. I forgive him. That is his cross to bare. Btw, I love β€œThe World As Denzin Sees It by Mommy Zoe” idea. It sounds like a great idea for future book. πŸ™‚

    @ Gwenn ~ thank you. I always try to look at life from a deeper perspective which helps me get through the tough times. And Denzin smiling at me is the best medicine for the blues. πŸ™‚

  6. Kat

    It does in deed! that is why I used my fast pitch and threw it at you! over the middle of the plate… I can see a home run right over centerfield!!… if there was ever someone brave enough and skilled enough it is you Zoe…. don’t let life’s hiccup’s stop you from your destiny…. the gentlmen who wrote the book about life for his children as he died of pancreatic cancer said.. the walls in front of us to reach the thing we are passionate about is not to keep us out but to keep out those that truly do not have the desire to reach the goal….

    May your desire and passion for writing take you to new ideas, thoughts and places you have only dreamt about visiting…

    Kat

  7. Robin

    Zoe, this touched me deeply. It is both brilliant and beautiful, just like you. I couldn’t agree more STRONGLY with what you wrote. God bless you, Mark, and Denzin.

  8. Jay

    perspective is the key…as with what people call opportunities, they do not come knocking but are creations that we welcome into our lives from seeds we planted at some poiint bvefore. it is importantt to acknowledge that life is everchanging and so are we; so we must adapt to whatever presents itself and welcome every event to make the most and best of it all, no matter how adverse it may seem at first.

    you are in incredibly strong spirit — one who finds kindred with others easily. You are also evolving…welcome the evolution and growth…you are heading into your next horizon…one of many you have foreseen for yourself…now it is time to make it a reality. Just do it!!!!

  9. CAK

    Hi Zoe, thank you for sharing this video.. the message certainly made an impression on me. I even had my children listen as well. Its inspiring and deeply profound (I couldn’t say it any better!). My love to all of you and keep remembering the beautiful moments and great times. XXOO CAK

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