Thursday, October 23, 2008

The road to yes

I often have days when my mind flits from one topic to another all day. Today was one of them, and my mental transitions made a funky pattern of twists and turns that left me filled to the brim with gratitude and brought me back here to talk about it. Follow me for a bit and you'll see what I mean...

This morning, I left the house a little late but in enough time to get to work by 8:00 AM. For some reason, traffic was insane today and I ended up getting to work closer to 8:15. It made me think about how easy my morning commute usually is and how what I called "insane" this morning was nothing more than a slight slow-down. People in Atlanta, a mere hour and a half from here, would throw back their heads in maniacal laughter to hear me complain about traffic in Chattanooga on any day. Thoughts of Atlanta traffic removed any desire I had to complain about a little congestion on my way to work this morning.

As I was thinking these thoughts, I watched a driver playing dodge-and-dash, trying to get ahead of the car in front of him, to scoonch up just a little bit more, to get where he was going faster. He passed me on the right, one hand in a death grip on the wheel, the other clutching coffee and cell phone. We ended up stopped at the same red lights and I was right beside him as he made his exit...which is odd because I wasn't doing any of that dodging and dashing, just going with the flow, and I arrived at the same time. I was glad I didn't have to work that hard.

Thinking about working hard reminded me that I had a pretty full day ahead of me. When I got to work, the guy in the next cube greeted me with, "Hey, welcome back!" Not that I'd been away - I was in the office yesterday. He just always seems to have a cheerful good morning phrase at the ready and uses them freely. I appreciate the nice start he gives my day.

Nice...that reminded me of how nice it was to stop by the Election Comission yesterday to do my early voting and not have to wait in line. There were only four people ahead of me. Those four people were elderly; although they moved a little slower, needed a little more time and a bit of help, they were there, making their voices heard in the election process. I felt really happy to be there, taking part with them in an election of so much historical significance. I still remember quite clearly the "Whites Only" signs on the little cafes in town where my dad stopped for coffee. I remember the first time I had black classmates in my elementary school. I have friends my age who, as children, had their houses fire-bombed because their parents were active in the civil rights movement. If I remember that much, what did those beautiful old people remember? How different is our world from when they were young? Regardless of who you vote for, seeing Barack Obama's name on that ballot and knowing that it is entirely possible that he may be the next President of the United States...knowing that he had to fight a hard battle with a female candidate to get that far...has to make you think about how far we've come. We still have much work to do in combating racism, sexism, and all forms of discrimination, but I couldn't help pausing for a moment to just soak it in before I slipped my ballot in to be counted.

Counted...that reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. (Albert Einstein)

I can't help but think when I read those words of just how full and rich my life is with things that really count. I have all I need, much of what I want, and the means to get what I don't have if I'm willing to work for it. I have love, friendship, meaningful work, blue skies, rain, stars, sunshine, babies laughing...everything this beautiful world has to offer. I can slow down and go with the flow. I have a voice in my government and the means and will to exercise it. I have an active, agile mind and I can share my thoughts with you through the miracle of language and electricity and your own intelligent, inquiring mind reaching out, exploring. We may never meet, but you are inside my head and we are engaged and connected.

I think about how grateful I am for all of this and more...and I remember two more quotes by men who must have felt the same welling of gratitude and wonder, and who left their words behind as a gift, a reminder:

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. - Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)

For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes. - Dag Hammarskjold (1905 - 1961)


1 comment:

  1. Nice.... going with the flow is exactly what this season ushers in for us.
    Work for me has slowed down and that allows me to live other parts of my life more fully.
    Thanks for the reminder to appreciate what is.


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