Where’ve You Been?
“Bo Diddley Bo Diddley have you heard
My pretty baby said she was a bird.
Bo Diddley Bo Diddley where you been
Round the world, gonna go again” — (Elias McDaniel, songwriter)
I’ve been away a long time – or at least it feels like a long time. Not sure whether I’m really back. Blogger fatigue? Not really. More the sense that if I had nothing interesting to say, better to stay mum. When I consult, I often say that if you put your bucket down a well for water and you get a bountiful supply, you’ll keep putting your bucket down that well. If you put a bucket down a well and draw up dirt, how often are you going to return to that well? Felt like a lot of dirt to me. So I’ve been out dousing…
Serendipity, the universe, a smack upside the head – call it what you will. I received a comment from a woman named Karen in response to my last blog. I’m sharing it with you in part (you could check it out yourself, but it’s important to this little story to quote from it here).
I just found your blog and it could not have been better timed. I find your writing to be so lyrical and admire your authenticity…I want you to know that you have made an impact on my life at a time when I needed inspiration and the strength to move forward; I lost my husband 18 most ago; we both had cancer at the same time. 8 weeks after his death I was diagnosed with a second cancer and went through 9 months of grueling treatment, alone, without my Beloved…[L]ife has a way of being arbitrary in how we learn the real lessons, yes? Our life together was like a beautiful song – starting with an anthem of the wonder of finding one another, then verse after verse over 45 years playing out the excitement of creating a family, the expansiveness of gratitude for all our hearts could hold that spilled so lavishly onto us and those we held dear, and then even over the period of shock and awe, our determination to live in the ‘now’. to savor the tastes, the touches, the fragrances and sights of ordinary days. Your writing has restored my soul, my heart, my mind and my body once again hear that beautiful song – the one we created together that chapter and verse comforts and sustains me, and the belief once again that though we ay not always cling to it, that the Universe is on our side, that it is Love that is always the answer to aching hearts. Thank you Mimi, thank you.”
I was left humbled, silenced by such gratitude for something I didn’t realize I had done. That Karen shared this with me – to give me such a generous gift. I affected a life. I. affected. a. life. Is there a greater contribution one can offer – especially without any knowledge of doing so? I am still awed. I am still shaking my head and I am still so touched that my words helped this beautiful woman. This beautiful woman who was willing to share her personal thoughts with me.
Flash forward to dinner with someone I used to know in high school and college. Ok, we dated – but that was a lifetime ago and after forty years, it counts far more as someone who used to know you before you learned a lot about pretense and guile and the only games you could play were the most sophomoric ones. Anyway, he mentioned a memory – I was 17 or so, and apparently was upset about something. He asked me if he had done something to make me mad, was it about him, etc. My response? “You know, sometimes it’s not all about you.”
And here I’ve sat – with these two disparate, yet powerful moments in my hands. I am heartened to know I still run true to form. That I am still focused more on others than on myself. It isn’t selfless believe me – it’s just where my comfort lies.
But do you realize that you change lives with your writing? Those whom I follow devotedly, affect my day, my thoughts, expanding vistas and shrinking others that have been over-planted and tended. You have changed my life. And if we can do this with and for each other, are we not answering one of the highest of human purposes? You matter. You have made a difference. You touch with tentative but determined intention. How incredible is that? We are here. And when we hurt or thrill, when we cry or giggle – when we least expect it – we are gifted.