Monday, November 7, 2011
I wrote here a few weeks ago about the loss of my friend, an amazing, talented, generous woman who taught me some very valuable lessons about teaching, work, and life. At work, we've just finished our review by the regional accreditation agency and, while we came through it unscathed, there was a certain amount of stress, mental bruising, and the occasional hive outbreak from that experience as we put our best face forward. (I doubt I was the only one who kept thinking of Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island exhorting his staff "Smiles, everyone, smiles!") Then, last weekend, on a night that was certainly dark and rainy, if not actually stormy, my faithful car simply dropped in the harness. It's pre-registration for the spring semester at my college and that never fails to bring out the jumpy ones.
You know, problems tend to be as large as we let them grow. I had the privilege of knowing my friend for nearly a decade. Students often simply need someone to shut up and listen. FryDaddy's sister and brother-in-law loaned me their still-smelling-like-new car for a couple of days so I could get to work without having to hitch rides. FryDaddy drove all over western North Carolina to ferry me up to a doctor's appointment, where my post-surgical sinuses got a clean bill of health and my mother and I had some time to spend together. FryDaddy and I headed up to Asheville (look closely and you'll see "evil" smack in the middle of that town's name. Weird.) for me to collect my last few continuing legal education credit hours, a very non-painful process that involved staying in a nice resort hotel surrounded by fall-colored mountains. The conference got me fired up about a legal organization I volunteer with and we had a few hours in the sparkling November sunshine to stroll around downtown Asheville and sample handmade chocolates (dark covered crystallized ginger is fabulous! FryDaddy unwisely left the rest of the truffles here with me. Perhaps I shall blame the kitten), look at exotic spice blends, and browse that rarest of critters, the successful independent bookshop. Then, upon our return home, we found our car troubles were, if not solved, at least the first cousin to solved through a long-term loan of a "so tough you can't kill it with an axe" Jetta. It has a few scars, but who among us doesn't? Plus the unexpected (and undeserved, to speak truthfully) generosity of two friends has eased a few burdens.
I'm not kidding or exaggerating - sometimes we think the storm is there to punish us when it's really loosening the fruit from the tall branches so we can reach it on the ground.
Look around. There's a lot to be grateful for, both in what you have and in what you don't.
I've gotta try to remember that more.