I re-learned a little lesson today I wanted to share. Lately, I’ve been so irritated about the climate in which we, as a nation, choose to live. No, this isn’t going to be a political tirade because I think I might vomit if I hear another person talk about how awful, misinformed or ignorant the other side is. Today, I realized some people feel the same way I do.
I woke up and it didn’t really go very well. I’m somewhat of an insomniac and went to bed at 2:30 am, only to wake at 7:00 am and not be able to get back to sleep. So, not the best start to the day but I tried to shake it off. After I went downstairs, I went to make breakfast. I’m on the Meditteranean Diet and pretty new to it, so still learning what to eat and what not to eat. I usually make fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast. Upon opening the refrigerator, I realized the last of the fruit was gone and the raspberries had been left out. With the summer heat, they had begun to fuzz and were useless. I used some unladylike language and opted for a cup of strong black coffee instead, to try to shake off the mood I could feel swirling around inside me. Do you know that feeling? When you know the day took a nosedive.
Coffee in hand, I walked to my office and fired up the computer, to finish my monthly newsletter. Scanning the headlines and social media before tackling my email, there were 125, I could see all the negative crap people were saying to one another. How the people they were attacking were morally and intellectually inferior because people don’t all believe the same thing. I sipped my coffee and burned my tongue. I used more unladylike language and turned off my computer again. It angers me, the way people speak to one another behind a keyboard and computer screen sometimes. Not just politics but shaming, judging, and bullying because it’s easier to do than have a polite conversation.
A few days ago, my beautiful Aunt Jacci died from cancer that had spread throughout her body. The tumors were in horrible places and the pain she experienced was excruciating. God, in His mercy, took away her suffering and I was happy for her because she was so excited to see Him. I wrote her a poem because it’s an easier way to express myself and included it below if you’d like to take a look. My parents went down to Arizona to help my uncle and attend the service, so we are taking care of their little dog, Sophie. I think she’s a terrier/poodle mix. All I know is she’s tiny and fluffy and loves to spin around in circles. My son, Charlie, calls them cheerios. So, after the computer abort, I went to take a shower. As I peered out through the glass, Sophie was just whirling around in circles, dancing to music in her own mind. A grin spread across my face for the first time all morning. I got out and realized the towels were in the laundry waiting to be washed, so used a hand towel to dry off. I went to my dresser and saw my underclothes were actually in the washer, and completely soaked. I used more unladylike language and resigned myself to the day.
I volunteer with Hospice. The summers are usually so crazy that I don’t like to take patients and then have to cancel on them, as plans come up. So, I help out in the office, doing whatever they need, until Fall. Today, an elderly man was leaving and he was crying, virtually inconsolable. I assume it was because he lost someone he loved. Maybe his wife. At that moment the only thing he saw was his grief. It didn’t matter what was happening in the world because life, as he knew it, had irrevocably changed forever. My day changed at that moment too. Not that things fell magically into place, they didn’t, but my outlook changed. Today was the day they also had the first of two services for my aunt. Her husband and her children’s lives were also forever changed, and I was so lucky, mine, with all their flaws, was still intact. I work with people that are trying to die with all the dignity they can muster. The one thing that comes across very clear to me is, they no longer have time for all the bullshit. I’ve always loved that about Hospice. Many see it as depressing or somehow morbid or macabre but I never have. People don’t leave this life talking about politics, or their house payments or being cut off on the freeway. They don’t talk about hate, gossip or resentment. They live their lives truly in the moment, with the people that matter most to them and the overwhelming conversations are about love, gratitude, and forgiveness. They want your time, your touch, and just love. They are warriors.
I immediately texted my husband at work and told him I love him. I told my kids too and spoke with my mom. I came home and played with Sophie and watched her do cheerios and I didn’t get back onto the computer until right now to write this blog entry. I’m not naive to think we don’t have problems in the world, or that tomorrow won’t have as many irritations that today did. I do wish there was a way to remember that we’re all just human. And just because someone doesn’t agree with you politically or any other way, doesn’t make them evil. They’re just people doing the best they can for themselves, their families and their communities. Wouldn’t it be awesome if controlled and open conversations rather than judgment, pride, and attacks were normal? Life’s too short to be so pissed off all the time!
I think it’s easier to say this, and much harder when someone’s saying something you disagree with, in the depths of your soul. However, it feels like a little humanity is slipping away and that’s no one’s fault but our own individual minds. No group, or person. Anyway, I truly learned that today, and the last time I really felt it was in Las Vegas after the shooting. It changed me but just needed the reminder.
by Jeny Heckman
You live your life, a good soul within,
And then one day it crashes in.
It’s just that you never expect the doctor’s answer,
When you ask them what’s wrong and they say cancer.
Now you must tell your husband, your children, and friends too.
Their mighty strength of love and hope they call out and bear for you.
In the heroic quest to become cancer-free,
You begin that scary word… chemotherapy.
You think you’re fine as one by one the bags slowly drain out.
Until that day you wake and find your hair is falling out.
Your body is weak and your head is cold,
But the wigs are good and your spirit is so bold.
Cancer is a blessing in one particular way.
You realize the friends that go and the more beautiful ones that stay.
In the Arizona summer sun, you seek refuge in the shade.
God’s whispers his love for you as to sip your lemonade.
No doubt it’s the paint and canvases you seek.
To paint the arid landscapes and the dusty mountain peaks.
And then you see some figures on that peak and blessed ground.
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost wait to embrace you safe and sound.
Yes, your Savior is watching and a beautiful angel is there too,
Waiting to escort you home, when your time on earth is through.
And on that day, all the faith and love to others you have expressed,
Will come flooding back tenfold to you, and expand inside your chest.
Perhaps you are nervous for the ones that are left behind,
Will they suffer? Will they cope? As you cross that heavenly line.
You tell your fear to God and ask him, “Whatever will they do?”
And in your ear, he’ll whisper the words, “Don’t worry, I’ll carry them too.”
Jacci you are so loved and it breaks my heart you have this to face.
Your kindness and your lust for life can never be replaced.
Touching so many people with your joy, and inspiring even more through your amazing art.
I love you, and pray for peace to find you and will miss that incredibly lovely heart.