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Posts Tagged ‘time is precious’

Go Out of Your Way

I’m taking a break from historical posts to just write from the heart. There are a lot of troubling things in the world right now, with a lot of finger-pointing and name-calling. I really need to bury my head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich: Make It All Go Away!

It won’t, and I know it.

On top of all the discussions over terror attacks in Paris, Beirut, Israel, and parts of Africa; on top of the political phone calls (every morning, right at 8:13AM!)(we don’t answer); on top of the polarization of candidates running for office (Donald Trump? Really? The man is a egotistical narcissistic bigot) – on top of this all, life goes on. People die of natural causes. Friends lose siblings. Just this week, two close friends lost a sibling.

That is just the setting.

The next layer is my own personality. I am an introvert. I can be an out-going introvert, but I am an introvert. I am also a highly sensitive soul who often buries my sensitivities so deep that even I forget that is why I wake up crying after an intense evening like last Friday the 13th. I’d sooner stay home than put myself out there, even for friends.

This is also my birthday month. I love my birthday month. It is the beginning of the holiday season – all the singing, decorating, lights, and magic. Angels get their wings with regularity during this time of year (every time a bell rings). Match girls get their wishes (even if it means dying, because her only wish was to be loved and her grandmother comes to carry her off to Heaven). It is my most social month of the year – and it is exhausting.

It is exhausting as only an introvert can find a social month to be.

I celebrated my birthday with dinner out with my husband. I spent a day with girlfriends – shopping and dinner and holding hands on the banks of the Sandy River to pray. I am planning Christmas parties. Thanksgiving is next week. People, people, people everywhere.

This morning, I woke up to rain. That’s not unusual considering where I live. Rain, rain, and more rain. One look at the freeway system and one would think we don’t know how to drive in the rain here (we don’t, so one would be right): wrecks everywhere. People hit that puddle of standing water and stand on the brakes and the wonder when the steering wheel takes on a life of its own – and the car goes flipping over and over and over when the wheels hit dry pavement again. It is the least lovely time of year to be driving.

That is the foundation.

Once a month, a group of my dear friends gets together. This is a different group from the group that gets together twice a year to celebrate “our” birthdays – that group that I met along the banks of the Sandy River to celebrate my birthday (among other fall ones). The monthly group consists of ex-coworkers. We worked together for the past 15 years at a small company that had a family feel to it (until a big corporation took over). What binds us together is the small business we used to work for, our former jobs, and the senior member of our group, my dear friend Lola Mae.

Lola is pushing 80. She was forced to retire because of her age. She had to sign some clause that she wouldn’t go after the company. Other members of my group had the same thing happen to them. Others took notice and chose their own way out: early retirement, marriage and relocation, finding another job. I took the latter out.

That is the back story.

Last week, Lola’s sister died. I don’t know how suddenly it was and I learned about it from a mutual friend. Lola didn’t mention it when I called her to make certain we were on for a November gathering. November and December are bad months to try to get together and nearly everyone bailed except Lola, one other person, and myself. I’m determined to be there for Lola as much as she will allow me to be there for her. She’s pretty independent.

I bought a card and signed it for everyone.

Then Lola called me and left a voice mail on my cell phone: she was sick and was going back to bed. She wasn’t coming tonight. The words between the lines were easy enough to hear. She’s hurting. Her sister died. She’s depressed. She wants to hide from the world. I know enough about depression to allow her this one day – I’ll call her tomorrow and give her something to laugh about. Today was not the time.

But I had this dinner date. One other person was planning on going. What to do? The easy answer was to cancel it: weather is bad, traffic has been horrific, I’m tired from all that has already gone on in November. She was noncommittal: “It’s up to you. You’re the one who has to drive…”

So easy.

Life is short. It is far too short. I messaged her back: “Let’s do it.”

So I had dinner with one friend tonight, Patty. We talked, we laughed, we got caught up on our kids and spouses and what we’re doing with our lives now. Then we hugged and agreed to skip December and meet in January.

This sort of thing doesn’t come easily to me. I’m not social. It’s easier to stay home. But I kept thinking: “What if something happens and I never have the opportunity to see Patty again?”

That would be tragic.

So – go out of your way. Keep that coffee/wine/dinner date. Time is precious.

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(Lola & I upon her “retirement”)

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