Actually, not fine.* I write this on the second day of non-stop rain (flash flood warning!). Morning headlines informed us that the administration will finalize the rollback of clean water protections. Gun violence continues, including a murder-suicide a block from my home. Having chosen to leave my professional career to pursue a dream of actually completing a novel, I stand one disaster away from taking a deep dive into my modest retirement savings. My ankle still hurts eleven weeks after a ligament-tearing incident. My normally dependable ability to sleep soundly has devolved into lying awake at 3 in the morning.
So how are you doing today? Are the problems in our society getting to you? How’s your personal life? How’s your health? Your work? You’re finances? Your mental health?
During the long course of yet another sleepless night, this phrase came into my mind: To triumph over darkness, give light. Not get light. Give light.
After choosing an early retirement to pursue writing, I took a part-time job at my local Target in women’s apparel. It gets me out amongst people, provides a little extra cash, and ticks about 5 miles on the FitBit each time I work. Yesterday an older woman, let’s call her Bernice, came in shopping for some new clothes. She and a helper from her nursing home were trying to find a suitable pair of black pants.
“I haven’t been shopping for a year!” Bernice said. Her manner was anxious but open, her conversation a little confused but enthusiastic.
After helping her to explore various options in black pants, we found a pair that suited her needs–black, with stretchy fabric, durable, washable, and classy looking.
She pointed to my required-by-Target red shirt. “I sure would like to get a new red top. It’s my favorite color.”
The attendant looked worried. “Remember, Bernice, you have only $40.00 to spend. And you also want to get those cough drops.”
Earlier in the day a red top on the clearance rack caught my eye. “If you can wait a moment, I have an idea. No promises, but we might have just the thing.”
There it was. In her size. A loose-fitting red top with lace trim on the sleeves.
“What do you think of this?”
“It’s so beautiful!”
The attendant pulled out her calculator. The pants, top, and cough drops came to just over $39.00.
Bernice looked up and held out her arms to me. I leaned down for a hug.
“I love you,” she said.
As of that moment, I was doing fine. Thanks, Bernice.
* FYI, I am not depressed or despairing. Just speaking truth about life.