The timely kindness of acquaintances

I woke up a bit shaky–vulnerable?–today.  There was no reason I could identify, I just felt a little unsettled all day. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you things like this; you’ll think I’m an emotionally unstable psychologist. (Who am I kidding? You must know that already.) I know on days like this, I must get out of the house or I’ll sit at home and mope, so out I went. I went through my day as planned, fitting in the tears when I needed to. Sometimes it helps to have to hold it together in public.

My first stop was my Thursday morning yoga class with my favourite yoga teacher. I’ve been yoga deprived since gout struck, but I decided to give it a try today. I figured I’d have to modify a lot–one-legged downward dog, anyone?–but I’d do the best I could. I felt bad for bringing what I was sure was bad energy to the calm room, but I tried my best to contain my mood.

One of the women attending this class with me for almost two years now noticed I was limping and gently asked me if I was okay after class. C. is a lovely woman who kindly laughs at my inappropriate jokes and whose company I’ve enjoyed, although we don’t know each other very well. Somehow we got to talking and she mentioned my bruising and now my foot. And I decided I might try her with my bigger life challenge, which is the leukemia.

Sometimes I get a sense from someone, even someone I don’t know very well, that she will be able to handle the truth, and I was right. C.’s response was perfect if not ironic considering my glum mood that day. She told me–I hope I’m not misremembering since I was so taken aback–that I am an inspiration. She sees me as always having a smile on my face. I’m not telling you what she said to brag; you know me better than that. I’m telling you because I was deeply touched and I was truly surprised, especially today of all days. It was just what I needed to hear when I was feeling so inexplicably blue.

Two babies side by side, one laughing, the other crying.

I’m on the left. No, I’m on the right.

I must admit that I didn’t necessarily stop crying after this heartwarming interaction, although happy tears were now mixed in with the sad ones. As a psychology undergrad, I remember learning that young children can’t understand that someone can have two conflicting emotions at the same time. Now that I’m fifty, I have recently come to understand such internal emotional conflicts, and I ride them out.

Tomorrow I’ll probably be happy again. My day will start with a healing dog walk, followed by the return of an old client, my first in a few months. Yay! I have leftovers of one of my favourite meals awaiting me for lunch before J. and I hit the road for a wedding in Edmonton. And I know today’s sad mood will pass. Holding on to C.’s words today will certainly help.

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4 thoughts on “The timely kindness of acquaintances

  1. You know Annie, life is so crazy. It is wonderful and terrifying and overwhelming and so many other things. It is amazing to me the difference people make, good and bad. I laugh at your jokes because they are funny and you inspire me because you are so strong, even when your body is not. Thank you for making me feel lovely and kind, one can always hear these words and I especially needed it this week – perfect timing. – C.

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    • I’m glad I could return the favour, Coleen. You said some kind things that day and more in this comment. I’m grateful for all of them. Sometimes I live for kindness like yours; it keeps me going when things feel tough. I’m glad I could give some of that back to you through this post. We all need a lift some days. With gratitude, Annie

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