I would walk a mile for a good conversation”, I’ve been telling myself for several months now. Last November I found a good conversation and didn’t have to walk a mile!
A good conversation doesn’t have to be a long one, and it might be with a total stranger. That’s what happened on this particular Tuesday noon. I was at the laundromat. The place was empty except for one young gentleman and myself. He was loading the washer next to mine as I unloaded my finished wash. It seemed only neighborly to speak, so I said, “the never ending chore, eh?” His answer was more than I expected:
“It’s all good though, helps to clear the mind. Getting clean clothes and a clean start. Things don’t matter so much.”
Wow, how true. I said something like, “Yes, beautiful!” before going on my way, full of gratitude at how amazing people can be.
My Howard could make people laugh with his outrageous stories, most of which were true. Folks also loved is hearty laugh and remembered it after he was gone.
When he was ill, the daughter of some good friends, wrote him a note of encouragement in which she recalled his special laugh. This was one of the last gifts he received, and priceless, in my view. Yep, people are amazing.
Today we are in the midst of a situation we had never anticipated and were not prepared for: a global pandemic. The whole world is dealing with it, trying to control its spread and flatten the curve of new cases. Some people compare it to the seasonal flu, but COVID19 is much worse. It is a “sticky virus” and not to be conquered by our immune systems, since no one has yet been found with a natural immunity. Hospitals in many places are overwhelmed with COVID19 patients. But you have probably heard all of this and more, since the United States is over 5 months into this experience. Our task now is to control the spread. Wearing face coverings seems to help, as does not congregating in public places like restaurants. I worry that this is a critical time for us, since many places are opening again.
So what’s my point? I’m hoping we will have conversations about this, that we will listen as well as talk. I admit that I am often quick to jump into a conversation with my opinion without listening to a person. So how could I respond intelligently to what they have to say? I hate this habit of mine! What I need to do is ask questions that will clarify both my thoughts and theirs. I could write letters too ,that will exercise my brain and order my thoughts.
I always knew Mom was trainable! She's smart and she listens to me. Her biggest milestone lately is learning to trust me outdoors! Right after she mastered that, she stopped pulling my tail to get me back in. I'm working on getting her to listen for my mewing so I can come in.
Mom adopted me when I was five months old. It was springtime and my foster Mom let us all hang out in the yard, sweet! We had each other to romp with as well as a ready food supply. Once spring came, we were like never inside. Momma taught us to climb trees. What a rush that was! Now there were all kinds of new hunting possibilities.
I think Mom wanted me to be indoor-outdoor for a long time, but her friends told her that awful things would happen to me if I were allowed out: fleas, traffic, catnappers, etc. Then one day Mom was chatting with a lady she goes walking with. The lady has a cat named Gideon, who is also a lady (Go figure! What's a girl cat doing with a macho name like Gideon?) She told Mom Gideon does fine outdoors, even crosses streets, and of course comes in at dinnertime. I think that helped clear the way for my new life!
I apoligize that my blog is so scattered and disjointed. I think of it as a playground for my mind, a personal sounding board. So why do I share it with the world? Beats me! Maybe I just like the format, or the files are easier to find online. Or, hey, I probably like the personal notoriety!
But maybe there are parts of the blog my friends could benefit from. If someone chooses to comment I may learn something. So here’s the real theme of this post of July 3, 2020: I want to encourage YOU to try journaling. You may be amazed at how much you will learn about yourself, about how strong you are. You may see your faith grow. You may conquer boredom or lonliness.
Looking back at my journal entries from 2017, the year my friend Steve died, I see how illuminating, how healing they are, even three years out. The tears may return, but they are healing tears, bringing me back to God.
A new journal is an opportunity. The sight of that little book, pages all neatly bound with its cover a pleasing color, seems to invite me. Writing can be hard work, as a dear friend observed once, so sometimes it’s easy to put it off. You may prefer to tap out your thoughts on a laptop or even on your mobile device. But many folks like the smooth rhythm of words penned on fresh paper. I’ve even heard it said that longhand writing is good for the brain.
The journal is your space. You get to shake hands with your younger self and reflect. There is a lot of noise out there and it can be hard to focus, that’s certainly true for me. But when I do make the effort, I’m amazed at what I discover and how much peace I receive.