Happy Tuesday is what Marnie used to say at the end of the every Morning Muscles Class (or Thursday, as that was the other early morning fitness session.) We don’t meet for class anymore, for all kinds of good reasons it wasn’t sustainable. I miss it, but have tried to adapt some, and I do include many of the lessons, both physical (planks) and emotional ( find your breath, clear your mind)– I may have learned more about caring for my head and heart space in Morning Muscles than caring for my abs and quads. Plus, I liked that the group of women were a good mix from all over town.
Marnie saved my life after I was run over by a truck. Well, Marnie and lots of other people, beginning with Joanne who called Fireman Al and the EMTs, the clinic staff, the flight ambulance crew, the Harborview surgeons, the nursing home caregivers, and everyone back home who lent a hand or made a meal for all those months. I remember that when weeks are rough. I know first hand to trust the goodness in others. This town is very good at healing.
I was listening to the radio on Sunday morning during an interview with a widowed mother of young children, I didn’t know her, it was from far away– “On Being” is the show– she said that instead of asking her or anyone in her situation “how are you?” she suggests we say “I know you suffering, do you want to talk about it?” Of course, there is suffering and then there is really suffering– I write obituaries. I get that. How unfair is this week’s assignment, a 45 year-old mother of two young girls who was a total spitfire, a brave, fun, bright burning-light of a woman? (Who also was so fit and strong on the outside and the inside.) Kaci died from cancer.
Yesterday I was in a PT session with Marnie, and she lead a little mediation at the end. It came down to the knowledge that we can’t be responsible for other people’s feelings, only our own, and how we respond is totally up to us. Which doesn’t mean that suffering doesn’t exist ( “I know you are suffering” ) rather, perhaps (I am no philosopher) what is my response to that? How do I want to walk in my world, knowing what I know? I feel like I owe the people I’ve written about– the ones who have died– to live better. To not waste this day. (I know, easier said than done. I break it down into smaller moments, or try to.) Better means kinder, happier, seeking goodness. The thing is, it’s often easier to fight or flee than it is to say something nice. Why is it that kindness takes so much courage? Honestly? I’m not always brave enough.
Former mayor Stephanie Scott gave me a book to help with this conundrum, called Choosing Civility by P.M. Forni. This morning I read, ” A human moment occurs anytime two or more people are together, paying attention to one another,” and this thought from the author of The Little Prince, “There is no joy except in human relationships.” (I would add dogs, chickens, those smelly sea lions at Lutak, the dahlias shooting up in the greenhouse, and what is with those two giant domestic bunnies hopping around my garden? Where did they come from? I mean, there’s joy in lots of relationships that aren’t human, especially in May. But Forni didn’t ask me…)
Still, you know as well as I do that relationships matter, and paying attention to each other does too, and there are many opportunities at this weekend’s Hospice Rummage Sale ( drop off stuff at the Fairgrounds Friday from 9-5:30) or at First Friday sales and art shows from 5-7 on Main Street Friday night, or at the HS Athletic Awards tomorrow night at 6:30, or at the “ABC’s of Caregiving” for someone with dementia at the library Saturday 1-2:30, or in the locker room at the pool, or in the grocery store, or at the gas station, or at the lumberyard.