Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The rest is history. Happy history. And so happy anniversary, Grey. It's been the best year of my life.
In the meantime, people struggle. I have several friends and family members who are just having a hard time right now. My mom is recovering after some surgery. She is doing much better but this wans't a simple procedure. My dandilion is having a rough time of it financially as it is impossible to pay the bills with only one full time job. In Norman, it's also just about impossible to find a job that is full time anyway, so he is just doing the best he can. His church and friends help, but he is also recovering from a bike/car collision a couple of months ago. Others are fighting the regular fight- not enough day at the end of the day and too many things to do just to stay afloat or get a bit ahead of the curve. Some are in school, or home schooling or figuring out how long-term medical care for dependents. One friend just had a hysterectomy. Another is still undergoing a long recovery from a surgery this summer to allow him to walk much farther without his wheelchair. Charlotte's asthma is more or less under control but she has some mysterious blood iron deficiency. Cathy's mother-in-law is in the hospital. Wildfires have been burning, even within 5 miles of town, for the last month outside of Ellensburg. Things are falling apart. I struggle too. It is terrifying to think that since we moved, neither of us will have significant paycheck for another 2 weeks. We planned well but we are being conservative until things even out.
I am reminded of something I learned in Al-Anon. I was totally broke, living alone in a small prison town. No friends around and without any real support except for the huge amounts of phone calls and online chatting. And I was lonely. I went to the grocery store every day just to be around free people. I had Eleanor, who despite being a cat, helped me keep it together. My Uncle Vernon died. I went to work every day in a place that was designed to punish people. I called a friend, neck-deep in pain, but I also regularly indulged in self-pity.
"I am sorry you have to go through this." she said. "Things will get better. But in the meantime, you'll do mean time."
She advised me to go do something nice for someone else and to quit feeling so sorry for myself. I also made a list of things for which I am grateful. I did do something nice for someone else and I felt a little better.
I am doing that today. Because you know what? I could use a little gratitude. Here are five things I am grateful for.
1. Cool weather. I sleep so well in cold weather and am loving the slow ascent to autumn. I'm sure that should be "descent", but I like to think we are ramping up for winter, not sliding into it. I love to walk to work in the brisk morning air and walk home smelling the warm breeze.
2. Grey. I don't know what I would do without him catching my back, cheering me on and just being there the talk to. What a great friend; what a wonderfu partner.
3. Friends. I talk to my friends every other day and usually much more often through text message.
4. Health. It's been very smokey here since there are wildfires almost completely out of control. Yesterday, they were about 10% contained. There are many days when people are advised to stay inside and not breathe the air. Others walk around wtih face masks. Desipte this, there are clear days when the wind blows and I can even go jogging. Most days, Grey and I go for a walk. It feels wonderful to have my health and to take deep breaths of air. We still haven't even used half a tank of gas in three weeks.
5. Water. The water quality here is excellent. I am willing to drink tap water, as it beats even the filtered water in Oklahoma. On top of that, my office has a community drinking fountain with filtered water and a special part for water bottles. I will never have to buy water as long as we live here.
We all do mean time, I think. It is a part of the human condition. I have been leaning lately on others, and in some measure have been there for support.
Once upon a time, my friend Charlotte was in the hospital pretty frequently. Youself Kazemi, one of my beloved former employees, gently took her hand in his, encompassing all of her small hand in warmth. He said "When you need me, just close your eyes and imagine I am holding your hand, and I will be." It is one of her favorite gifts, and one we have shared many more times that I can even remember. So if you are having a hard time right now, know that I am thinking of you and holding your hand too.