In recent days I have felt extreme fatigue, mental deflation, and yesterday, anxiety that gripped my chest and would not let me breathe. I have slowed to a ‘meander’ through the day, allowing myself to float and contemplate and do what feels right, with no pressure to ‘do’ anything if the spirit is unwilling. It is liberating.
On my worst days I can still wake up and be grateful for breath. There have been some tough days this year but none so bad that breath was the only thing I was grateful for. The service we attended on Friday was called ‘A Service of Thanksgiving’. If my dear friend can be thankful for a life cut too short, I can be grateful for the many blessings in my own life.
Friday started out on a sombre note, with the memorial service for Ivy. I was nearly sick to my stomach with dread of the event, but through the experience realised that I was comforted in the group of family and friends who had lost a bright light in our lives. It felt right to be there and I would not have been anywhere else.
It was the season for Poinciana trees to bloom in Darwin and they were putting on their Christmas coloured spectacular in special style this year. The day was hot and humid and honestly, made a visit to a steam room seem irrelevant. Somewhere in the tropical haze that slowly seized hold of me during the day I was reminded about my personal vow to offset every sad or distressing event with something good, if at all possible. That practice is largely about gratitude, being grateful for the good things and trying not to dwell on the ‘other’ things. To start with, I was thankful the day was sunny and not raining, at least, and later on, for another of my dear friends who picked me up after the service to spend a few hours catching up. Later that evening an impromptu dinner with two couples, friends from Alice who in recent years had moved to Darwin, was another surprise. Though we had planned that morning to meet for drinks and dinner with one couple, the other friends came along as a welcome surprise. It was one of the ‘stand-out’ evenings I’ve spent with friends. Perhaps because the morning had been so sorrow-filled, the laughter and sharing that evening was wonderfully life affirming.
We just never know what a day holds, but we can be sure of one thing; if we allow it to unfold with an open heart there will be something revealed to us. All things do happen as they are meant to, in their own time, their own season, and it is up to us to discover the gifts. And above all, to breathe in the essence of living.