I had lunch with a friend last week who is going through some hard times. In constant pain and at the mercy of a busy physician and overloaded county hospitals, she is doing her best to be patient and loving despite everything. It isn’t easy. Still she is grateful for the little acts of kindness from random people she is encountering through this experience. I marvel at her because she’s had more than her share of pain and suffering and yet she is a model of patience and loving kindness. She told me that a friend of hers asked when was the last time she did something good for herself. When she couldn’t think of an answer, her friend told her it’s time she did something, anything, to make herself feel good.
When was the last time you did something good for yourself?
I have little things, like a strong cup of earl grey with just a hint of sugar and cream, and I have bigger things, like a solitary photography playdate with beautiful yellow light streaming across the landscape and no other commitments.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to combine some of my favorite things and I found myself smiling throughout the day. At times I felt giddy as I enjoyed each activity and stayed in the moment. It began with a trip to the Farmer’s Market. The sun was shining but the air was crisp and snow capped mountains glistened in the distance. I wandered past the stalls and took in the vibrant colors of the fruits and vegetables. I chatted with the vendors and tasted what was offered. I made the Indian stall my last stop and handed over my last few dollars because the spinach boulani was just that good. I loaded up my car and headed home but at the last second turned into the park because I thought the sunlight would sparkle nicely on the lake and I couldn’t resist the snow capped mountains in the distance. It was too late in the morning to get a really great shot but I still felt energized by the action of walking around with my camera in hand, choosing the settings, looking at the landscape and figuring out how to frame it. The thought “I am having such a great morning” kept flashing through my brain.
I then spent the remainder of the day cooking and preparing for the week’s meals. I had two slow cookers and the oven going for most of the day. When the boys wandered in I’d give them a piece of this and a taste of that. During a break in the preparation, I took them on in a game of whiffle ball. They won. Handily. I caught glimpses of the football games during trips out to the laundry room. What I ordinarily think of as chores and ‘have to do’s’ became enjoyable. The thought kept appearing in my head: “I’m having a great day”.
The day ended with a steaming hot shower and two episodes of The Tudors, my new favorite show.
And as I drifted off to sleep with Wolfie wedged between us and Kate at the end keeping my feet warm, I thought, “that was a really great day”.
Now I don’t know what it was about this particular day. Maybe it’s because after seeing the devastating images from Haiti I thought about what I typically grumble about and suddenly those don’t really seem like problems anymore. Maybe it’s because if you do just one or two little things for yourself in the morning, that it will make the rest of your day so much better. Maybe it’s a combination of all of it. Whatever. I hope I can keep it up.