Thursday, December 20, 2012

What if?

I started a post the other day I never finished. Like my feelings after the Newtown tragedy, my thoughts were a jumbled mess. I wanted to write something profound that would go down in the annals of profundity, but really there was/is nothing new to say. After circling the block I said this:
"What if a kind word or a smile, could make a difference in someone's life?" 
Sweetie hates it when I ask what if. It's a habit I can't break. And really, if you ask me, it's not all that bad a question. For instance, if I asked "what if something bad was going to happen? And then you told me how to avoid that bad thing, then "what if" could be a useful tool. Right? Well before I get too side-tracked on the goods and bads of "what ifs" I better get on with today's thoughts.

"What if," I ask myself, "every day could be as good as today?"

 Seriously people, I had one of the best days ever - or one of the best days I can remember. It's like Christmas magic was in the air, everywhere I went. I think I know now what "Merry" Christmas means. And it all came from following my heart.

There's an older lady from my church who lives alone. Her son is not far away but when something happens and she can't reach him, she calls me. She's fallen 3 times in the last few months. Thankfully nothing's broken, just real sore and bruised. The last time she fell she banged up her foot real good and had to wear one of those boot things. I've taken her to the doctor, picked up a few items from the store and that sort of thing. Today, she got the boot off and, as much as a 91 year old lady can with a walker, she was raring to go. Our first stop was the nail salon to have her fingernails trimmed. Then off to Steinmart to buy her son's Christmas presents. I didn't even know there were stores where clerks helped you pick things out any more. But my friend asked and she had two ladies at her service. While they were helping her I helped another lady who couldn't reach the shirt she wanted. Lo and behold, it was the exact size she wanted. "It's a Christmas Miracle" I said and got the biggest smile and a blessing in return. 

Next we headed to Piccadilly Cafeteria for lunch. You know how when Dorothy landed in Munchkin Land she felt sort of out of place? Well that's how i felt in Piccadilly. The mean age had to have been 75. I know I've got white hair and I'm pretty forgetful but still, I felt like a teeny bopper in there with all those walkers and canes.  Mary and I had some great conversation. She is a story teller with lots of stories to tell. With a soft Southern drawl she spoke of small Georgia towns where she grew up, a dog named Dusty, a chicken named Bunny and a cat named Tom who followed a man to work every day. She talked of climbing trees and playing basketball, of life after her divorce, of Mama Mae, of almost losing her mind and the grace of God. They were the kind of stories she needs to write down. She's got a start (35000 words) but I think there's way more in her head. 

As we were leaving I noticed another older (duh) lady from church. When I told Mary she pushed her walker all the way across the dining room. When it wouldn't fit between two tables she parked it and walked up to her friend she hasn't seen in awhile - maybe years. Those two women hugged each other like long lost lovers. The other lady's companions and I just watched. I wasn't the only one tearing up. Then the two ladies made introductions and shared a few laughs. "May I have another one of those hugs before I leave?" Mary asked. And again, the friends embraced in a way that said much more than  hello or goodbye. It was a Kodak moment without a Kodak. 

On to the dentist to have Mary's dentures aligned. I waited by the front door. In walks a woman with an ankle-length skirt covered in cardinals sitting on mistletoe branches. These were not small birds. They were almost life-sized and bright Christmas red. How could I not say "wow" to that? That was about all I had to say. For 20 minutes this lady with 3 bottom teeth and a heavy Greek accent regaled me with stories of her life. Talk about needing a tape recorder. In her goodly number of years this woman has been a master tailor for Saks 5th Ave, attended 51/2 years of medical school before seeing a cadaver which made her sick, attended law school which she didn't like, and ended up in the Air Force. I couldn't help but laugh when she told me she made a skirt out of her table cloth. Nobody could make this stuff up. 

By the time I got Miss Mary home, shewas pretty worn out. Before getting settled in a chair where she could rest she showed me her Shirley Temple dolls - two dolls that I gotta say looked just like Shirley Temple, one dressed as Heidi and one dressed as the Little Princess. There was just something sweet at the end of a good day to think about about a 91 year old woman who sleeps with a doll next to her bed. 

There was a lot about the day that made it special. The laughing, the hugging, the feeling of well-being that comes from a five dollar nail trim. But I think it was the affirmation of my soul's calling, the following my heart that made the biggest impact. Being in the writer's group has taught me how to listen to other peoples' life stories. It is a gift one can give to themselves as well as the person telling the story. Finally there was the coming home to my Sweetie. "Oh Jack," I said with tears in my eyes. "I had the most incredible day." 

 "Tell me about it," he said. Then sat down in his chair ready to listen. Damn that Sweetie is a good listener. 

Back in August I had an experience that felt sad right down to my bones. Today, I could feel joy settling in. Another Christmas miracle?

What if people everywhere started noticing the miracles around them? 
What if angels heard on high are nothing more than an old woman's laugh? And the gifts wise men offer are as prescious as a smile, an ear and a thank you?

Wishing for you a simple, joy-filled miracle,
Merry ME


AkasaWolfSong said...

There's God-Joy, God-Sparks, God-Miracles in every moment, isn't there Mary?

Your sharing today is heartwarming to say the least but it also tells me how much healing my beautiful and much beloved Sister has gone through? You are a God-Joy, a God-Spark, a God-Miracle and make the world a better place by being in it!!!

Molly said...

Thanks for sharing this! I've had my fill of the world is ending newscasts (which occur regardless of the Mayan calendar) and this was a wonderful antidote!