It was a particularly tough day for getting out of bed. January was rough. Each day brought news I didn't want to hear, and while doing my best to center myself, events seemed to be piling on relentlessly.
On that day I lay in bed longer than usual, wondering if I should even look at the headlines. I was pretty low, and I literally pushed myself out and up onto my feet. My morning ritual helped. I take my time, usually rising early so that I'm the only one up. I like the dark, quiet hours between 4 and 6 am, when I can find my center through meditation, prayer, and walking.
Amazing, isn't it?
That day I took a long walk through the quiet streets and along the waterfront in Portsmouth, NH, where I live. It happened that the sun was just starting to come up over the horizon as I reached my favorite spot where the Piscataqua River flows into the Atlantic. I could see the blip on the horizon and stopped to watch. It was magnificent. I recorded it on my phone so that I could watch the whole thing without shading my eyes.
Just as the yellow-orange circle showed itself fully, a woman spoke to me. Being courteous about distancing, she stopped and said: "Amazing, isn't it?"
I agreed. She sees the sun rise every morning and said it "never gets old." She explained she lived nearby and talked to me for a while about the buoys. They make a sound when there's a strong wind, and she can tell how strong the wind is by the sound they make. It was the kind of moment when you connect with someone you've never met in a way that somehow tells you life is good, people are kind, and everything will be okay.
Reason for Hope
I continued my walk, connecting with others who spoke to me as we passed, either masked or waving from the other side of the street. I was almost home when, distracted by a fire truck with siren and lights blazing, I turned and hit a raised brick on the sidewalk and took a tumble. I could tell there was no damage but sat there for a moment stunned. I heard a woman shouting from a car paused in the middle of traffic, shouting out to make sure I was not hurt. So kind. I got to my feet and said I was okay. She said, "Are you sure" and offered to help as other vehicles slowed behind hers.
I thanked the woman, grateful for so many reasons, and reassured her as I moved toward my corner of the block. And in that ki moment, the light burst through my earlier fog--a wake up call inviting me back into "the good reality", a reason for hope and a reminder to look for the good, the hopeful and the courageous, especially when they seem to be in short supply.
Breathe and Believe
- I needed to remember my roots.
- I needed to remember that courage is what exists in the presence of fear.
- I needed to remember that hope is what exists in the presence of despair.
I needed to remember that I do the work I do because of the promise of possibility. I sit with the alcoholic, the prisoner, the battered women, the inner-city youth that can’t find his door because the hallway is so dark. And I dare hold up to them the promise of change, the promise of hope.
Do I need to see a person down and out before I reach out my hand?
Can I spare a moment for those that I believe are causing pain?
How do I distinguish between those that I believe deserve an opportunity and those that are shunning such prospects?
In the middle of the storm I hold on to the basic belief that love will guide the way, I just need to quiet my mind enough to see the lighted path emerge ever so faintly to begin to know the next step to take. So for now, all I ask of myself is to breathe and believe. Believe in all the possibility I built my life and my life’s work around.
Thank you, Joyce. Thank you kind woman who stopped to make sure I was okay, and thank you dear soul who stood with me to see the sun rise and give us all hope for a new day.