Life is serious business.
We pay taxes, shovel snow, teach our kids to drive, hold their hands when they (or we) are sick, and encounter the meetings and partings of this temporal walk upon the earth.
If we are lucky, our wisdom grows as our hair grays.
In a life filled with judo kicks to the gut, we are fortunate to balance our endless responsibilities with joy and a wee bit of whimsy.
Yesterday was “Tax Day” in the U.S. Sonic Drive In offered 1/2 priced drinks all day; a “sweetest deduction” and tasty bit of whimsy to help the taxes go down.
My friend, Meka, popped into the fishbowl where I sit at work, and called out a need for “Spicy Basil” at Baan Thai…an invitation to punt plans and get away from the day a bit. It wasn’t part of my budgeted week and I could have worked through lunch on a project, but as much as Meka needed spicy basil, I needed time with her.
Best Pals, Katie and Dave and their crew, are good at balancing what needs to be done and the best/better things of living this short life. I could show you a picture of Dave in his cycling gear and you can see the utter joy on his face, but I haven’t asked his permission, yet. Katie and I – when we are not in bed sick or helping kids chum into a bucket – walk/run three mornings a week. We laugh, sniffle sometimes, and sort out the day ahead. It’s a special insanity to get up and trudge through snow and ice in the dark, but it is precious to me and has been life in this passing season of death in my soul.
Last night, friends Trish and Gil and I broke the seal on my new Walter Mitty movie and watched it over soup, rude noises, popcorn, and Humphrey, the shameless pandering pup. We laughed and it was so good. Then I left as Gil was preparing to go to work – to take care of his family.
When I was at Georgia Southern College – new again to the U.S. and completely new to a faith that sustained so many years – I was fond of saying “on the eighth day God created mirth.”
You see, I had very recently embraced faith and only hours before finding out my brother was dying of a particularly virulent form of cancer. This while working up to three jobs simultaneously, taking scads of hours, and trying to get a swim scholarship.
In all of that mangling of life and ambition, one thing became very clear, the happiest people were not the people of the greatest ease. The happiest people were the ones who took the time to unplug from their walkmans and the telly and indulge in a bit of whimsy.
As hard as I had it juggling that grief, those jobs, and the hours as a “foreigner” in a strange land (south Georgia-late 80s; enough said) many people had it worse. One of the people who saw me through that terrible time was Betty, who made sure Anderson Hall was clean and ready for use. She and the women I worked the breakfast shift with, had hard lives – without benefit of having cavorted across the globe or worked towards a college degree as I had.
But they laughed.
And made sure that I ate when food was impossible to choke down past the grief and exhaustion.
Betty would sometimes check in on me in the mornings between early morning practice/work and Econ 101. She taught me how to wash a shirt with shampoo as the emergency demanded, tried to teach me to make collared greens and how to “stomp”.
She would sometimes touch my hand. She often made me laugh. She made such a difference in my life.
So folks, in this serious business of life, lets find ways to laugh, get goofy, and truly live in these days of unknown number.
Still searching for the north star.