Take a moment to say those things that need to be said
Habit can be a wonderful thing. Habit or routine gets us through the day. Rituals like walking the dog, prepping your lunch for work, reading the paper, making meals, washing up before bedtime…things like these mark the hours of the day for us and center us.
Rituals have the ability to calm us when other things are out of order in our lives. When things are stressful at work and we head home for the day, the drive home can be a great comfort as we head back to our fortress of solitude. At home, a few quiet minutes relaxing in our favorite chair can work wonders on stressed-out thoughts as well as tired muscles.
When we are worried about our loved ones in crisis, comfort food and a hot cup of tea can give us that moment to center and focus. Our daily dog walk can help us sort things out and clear our head. We may not realize it, but routine is important and holds our lives together.
But recently, none of that was working for me.
I woke up with a feeling of general sadness. A very dear friend of mine has been going through a deep, life-altering crisis for quite a while now, and there was not much I could do for her. I pride myself on my creative ability to solve problems, but sometimes a person has to figure it out for themselves, and you just have to be there for them.
Still, it made me sad that she may not be making the best decisions for herself right now. The sadness hung over me as I got ready for work, prepared my lunch, and took my dog on his morning walk. Routine was not helping me feel any better. My head was filled with what-ifs, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the grief I felt for my friend.
At work, I was quiet while my supervisor cracked his usual jokes. I just couldn’t shake what I was feeling and, although I tried to put on a good front, I know my coworkers could see right through it.
Some days are like this for me. I lose my perspective, my sense of humor, and the whole day feels bleak and gray.
The day went on. I got through to my lunch break, which is typically a bright spot, but none of the items I’d packed in my lunch box made any difference in cheering me up.
I had been looking forward to my grandson’s baseball game that evening but found he had not been feeling well that day and stayed home. I decided to take my dog on a very long evening walk, which was lovely, but the melancholy from the morning was still stubbornly hanging on.
Back at home, I made supper for the dog and myself and was trying to decide what to write about for this month’s Spirit. I had a few ideas, since I make notes whenever inspiration hits, but didn’t really feel too strongly about any of them.
I decided to go check the mail, the dog happily dancing in circles as I walked through the hallway to the front door. “And what are you so happy about?” I playfully asked him. Some days I have to admit I’m terribly envious of his terminally sun-shiny attitude.
As I pulled the mail out of the box, I noticed a letter from my friend, Liz. Liz decided a few years ago that writing to each other would be fun, so we started a bit of correspondence, filled with whatever was on our mind at the time of writing.
Sometimes it was about our latest endeavor in a class or project. Many times it was about our frustration with the men in our lives. Once in a while it would be about work or family, what was going well, what brought us joy, and what needed working on.
Many times the envelope or letter would include a sketch or some colorful or interesting stickers. Liz and I have the same quirky humor, so we can make each other laugh easily. I always look forward to a letter from Liz.
But today was a little different. Today Liz had sent a card. The outside of the envelope had a drawing of a sunflower and cattails, with a frog on a lily pad enjoying the summer sun, all hand-drawn by Liz. I eagerly tore it open, careful to preserve the artwork.
The card had sparkly flowers all over the front with these words: “I believe there are people the universe put into our lives for a reason, people who influence and shape us in big and small ways.” The inside read, “You’ve been that person for me. I couldn’t let this day go by without letting you know what a blessing you are.”
With tears already in my eyes, I read the message she wrote.
“Paula, you have been such an inspiration to me over the years. I couldn’t ask for a more kick-ass mentor, role model, and friend. I thoroughly appreciate your kind and generous nature. And you are so much fun to hang out with! Thanks for being my super-cool pen pal, and wonderful friend. I love you so much!”
At this point my hands were shaking and the tears were streaming down my face. All the heartache I’d been feeling all day had vanished in that moment. How wonderful it felt to read those words from Liz! It was just the thing my soul needed, and all she had done was write down how she felt.
It made me think that I should take the time to write some cards and letters to those I love, to remind them of how they have inspired me and been a wonderful influence in my life. When there’s this much happiness to be spread, there’s no reason to wait; those words need to be said. You never know when they might completely turn somebody’s day around for the better.
I think Liz may have invented a brand new tradition! I’m off now, to make my list of gratitude and appreciation. Who might be on your list?
The Jensen Community Spirit is mailed at no charge to property owners and residents within the Tomorrow River (TR) School District. Residents outside of the school district that have students attending the TR Schools will also receive issues at no charge. Gift and other subscriptions to the Jensen Community Spirit are welcome and can be mailed to addresses in the continental United States for $30 for a one-year subscription. Subscriptions are not refundable but may be transferred.
Subscriptions delivered outside of the continental USA will need to be quoted for additional shipping costs.