I have absolutely no right to be happy, let alone joyful and a little giddy. But don’t hate me.
My arm barely works out of its sling. An indigo hue crawls across my shoulder down to my belly. I creep along the perimeter of the room, unfamiliar walking stick clutched in my clumsy left hand. The list of personal chores with which I struggle grows by the hour. Remaining to be explained? The wonky EKG, the plunge in blood pressure, and the twin failed thyroid tests.
Yet I nearly scampered down my stairs this morning, except that I have never been able to move at that pace. (I always got caught first in any game of ‘It’, or fleeing from the scene of group antics as a child.) An unexpected round of specialist co-pays, follow-up X-Rays, missed billable hours, and late night trips to the Tylenol bottle await. But I can’t stop smiling.
One neighbor came over yesterday and spent a pleasant hour chatting while helping with tasks that take two hands. Another secretly invited my Coast Guard rescuers to the Community Dinner. A third left a quartet of tomatoes from our garden on my door step while I worked today. One co-worker made and carried my coffee; another nipped next door for precisely what I wanted to enjoy for lunch. I do not recommend getting hurt to prove that people like you. But adversity seems to have increased the steady stream of kindness flowing from the universe towards my wobbly heart.
When these maladies subside, all the annoyances of my life will remain. The nagging ten pounds around my belly must still be combated. My skin looks pasty. My muscles ache. I get lonely, far from the familiar contours of six decades in the heartland. The immutable failures of my past march around my tired form in the gloom of night with persistent vigor. My bucket list remains stubbornly long. The problems that i meant to tackle before winter await, unresolved.
But the tomato-spinach salad which I had for dinner seems to have warmed something deep within me, with its lushness, and its quiet reminder that I am loved.
It’s the eighteenth day of the sixty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
On the door sign: “And when our lives are touched by the hand of kindness, we are changed forever. We are more than we were before.” — Flavia