life lessons

Humble Lesson

Hi my friend,

What’s happening in your world? Are you as amazed as I that an entire day can pass and when I do a mental inventory, I’ve got little to show for the spent hours and minutes? And yet, the days go by – a walk here, a load of laundry there…

…oh, and a little free-floating anxiety for good measure.

Have you heard the fantastic story of the gentleman in the U.K. who celebrated his 100th birthday by walking back and forth in his garden, hoping to get some support for the NHS? As a result he has inspired the public’s emotional and financial enthusiasm – he has become a joyous, endearing icon (he’s got the greatest smile) and over $100M in donations have been made in his name.

What a difference a day can make, huh?

The owner of the studio where I go to do my lame-but-earnest attempt at exercise (when not on lockdown), travels from pillar to post, offering socially distant cardio and dance classes – one of which occurs on my driveway Thursday mornings. Four women, one incredible instructor and some good music. What she provides to those who can’t come to her these days is immeasurable. We laugh, we talk, we breathe, we dance. We are the better for her.

And she does this everyday.

So this is what I was thinking about while I was standing in line at the supermarket (mask, check; acceptable distancing, check). What the hell have I done that even comes close to paying a bit of rent for the gift of being here? I was at my self-flagellating best – I need to do more, be better, think more creatively, come on Mim, if not now…

I check FB, and see a note from a woman who was one of my campers (back in the day, obviously). I made a difference to her. Whatever I did, and Lord knows I can’t remember what – it mattered to her. Fret not, this isn’t a pity post – really. I’m a decent mom, an even better Gigi; I’ve accomplished a lot; impacted some, enraged others, and occasionally even lit a spark. I think I finally figured out this whole marriage thing, after a couple of false starts. I try. All in all, I’m ok. That said, nothing really measures up to the contributions of many – let alone the contributions of doctors, nurses, first responders, etc. On balance, is it enough to be nice…can I really be satisfied with the logic of the butterfly effect? I’m not sure – my hands are empty, no matter how full my heart may be.

This is at worst a lesson in humility – there are people doing extraordinary things to remind us of our better selves. There are people who challenge us to try a bit harder to step outside of our own story. And if that’s the worst, that ain’t bad. At best, this is a love note to Jayne Ritter, who gave me far more this morning, than I might have offered all those years ago.