Friday, August 20, 2010

Where I Belong

Yesterday was such a great day. I met my friend Susan for breakfast knowing that it was my last day before school. Who knows when I would have the time to get together with her again? Susan sent me an e-mail once, and I responded, and then, the time we actually got around to meeting in person, we knew quite a bit about each other. The thing that I love about Susan is hard to explain. Once an acquaintance said to me: "When you talk, sometimes I find myself thinking "What? What is she talking about? I don't understand." But conversation flows between Susan and I, moving easily between the concrete and the abstract. (We had a great discussion on perspectives yesterday.) We lingered over coffee and finally got up to leave. She walked with me a ways. On the way in, I had seen a perfect Christmas gift for Cara in the window of a not-yet-opened store, and I'd made up my mind to get it on the way back to my car.

Susan waved at a man in the window of a coffee shop. He looked familiar. Turned out that he was the editor who originally hired me to write for the paper. I had no self confidence, but Jude sent very short, very encouraging e-mails that made me see myself differently. He told me several times that he was certain that I had a book in me. He was the first to do that. Since then, I have heard that so many times at this point that I've kind of accepted it as fact and am patiently keeping my eyes open for a suitable topic (and no, the world does not need another book on breast cancer from a person who has no new wisdom on the topic anyway.) But it will remain the truth forever: I heard this from Jude first, and I remember the shock of reading those words, not daring to believe them.

We walked into the little store and I was amazed to see Leslie, a wonderful woman that I used to work with many years ago when we first moved back here. I was a janitor in a plastics plant (now defunct). We talked in passing, and I liked her very much, but the janitor is a busy person, and I almost always only met people in passing. Leslie was so glad to see me, and greeted me so warmly that it actually made me a little teary. I introduced Susan and we fell into a three way conversation like old friends.

I had a great laugh at the bank with the teller and another customer, and then wandered over to get gas. I went to the full serve only because I wanted to visit with Alex. "I miss you," he said, and I said in all truth, "I miss you too. You were a great person to work with." He is a person with a good, good heart, and so tall that I nicknamed him 'Tree', and I'm sure that the store is not a pleasant place for him (if you were to listen to the talk, you'd think for sure that his first name was G-- D--- and his last name Alex), but he quietly goes about his business there, and lets the nonsense run off his big, big shoulders.

I stopped in Tractor Supply to talk to Jeremy about placing an order, and really, the difference between the old job and the new job struck me again. I was hailed cheerfully, and I greeted them back. We laughed and bantered back and forth, and then I headed out again. I've never heard anyone speak about anyone else disrespectfully there. That comes from the top, I think.

I went to the college for the required physical for OT. As I was getting out of my car, I heard my name, and turned around. It was New Mary. Tim was the one that pushed me towards college (I felt like I should wait until Cara was done with her college), but it was Mary who pointed out that OT was a hot field. I watched the papers and saw that she was right, and so that is how I picked the field. I didn't recognize her because each time I see her, she looks so different. Her hair has grown long enough, post chemo, to be tucked into a pony tail and I touched it, amazed. As we hugged, I noticed she had a text book, and I said, "MARY! Are you taking classes?" She is. She's taking OT as well. I screamed with excitement right there in the parking lot, and we fell into step talking a blue streak about J-numbers and classes and her job and any number of things. I took her to admissions to get her number for her ID and then, unfortunately had to take leave of her to get to my own appointment. We exchanged hugs and "I'm so glad" and "We'll be study buddies" and "Call me!"

As I waited for my physical, I ran into two people from A and P and we enjoyed laughing about it. (Lord knows, there was not a lot of that while we were IN the class...) A woman listening to us had a brand new A and P text book. "You are scaring me," she said, uncertainly. And we told her the truth. It is hard, hard stuff, but she'd make it, just like we did.

I stopped by the emu farm, to tell them what an e-mail friend had told me: that emu oil was soothing to her radiation burns. While I was visiting with the workers there, an elderly woman stood listening, and when I walked out, she walked out with me. "Did I hear correctly? Did you have cancer?" We talked about that. Her daughter had breast cancer too. She is in the post treatment stage, and feeling lost too. She tries to read up on things, to minimize her chances of reoccurence. She's careful about her diet. It sounded very familiar. In frustration, the mother said, "They will not tell her that she is cured." I looked down at this 74 year old woman. I totally understood what she wanted. Crap. It's what we all want, really. We all long to hear that we are 'cured', but that's not the way it works. I explained it to her as gently as I could. "Listen," I said reaching into my purse. I wrote down my e-mail address. "I've been really encouraged by others, and your daughter is certainly welcome to e-mail me." And she tucked the paper away in her own purse carefully. We hugged and she whispered, "Good luck to you." I whispered back, "and to your daughter too."

I got home and picked four quarts of blueberries. For Tim and I and also for my old friend Mary. She shares generously from her garden, a sign in her yard offering daily produce for free, and their corn was just the best this year. I think of her and Danny eating the blueberries I'm picking now this coming winter, and it makes me smile to myself. There's plenty more picking out there.

By then, Tim was home. We were going to get a load of firewood. We were going to put rain gutters on the front of the garage on one of the rentals. Out of the blue, he said, "Let's don't work tonight," and so we didn't. The sunset was gorgeous, and we rode along companionably.

It was such a nice day, and I was hard pressed to explain just what it was for a while. It just niggled at me until I figured it out at the end of the day. Where ever I was yesterday was just where I was supposed to be. I belonged everywhere I went. I was meant to be there.

That doesn't happen every day. How blessed I am.


steviewren said...

I know what you mean by the phrase "meant to be there." Since I've been laid off I've struggled to find my creative self, to get some projects going, to have ideas and to want to execute them. I finally fell into the groove this week. The contentment that comes with being in your sweet spot is so know you are meant to be there.

It's what is missing when I'm working. Now that I've found it again, I will really hate it when I get a job. But, being creative doesn't pay the bills...I know this from experience. So I will enjoy the luxury of being home and being creative while the muse and the money lasts.

Lydia said...

Great post. Great day. glad you could enjoy it.

I actually took the day off today. Well, I took some calls, but didn't go into the office or do anything productive to speak of. Going to make home-made salsa, and putz around the house. *sigh* It's been a long time.

Bill of Wasilla said...

You should write a book about pumping gas while raising emus on the side and going to college. Be certain to include a psycho psychology teacher and a biology student who crosses a blueberry bush with a tree and hence creates the first blueberry tree, the fruit of which causes the whole campus to get drunk during the Halloween party.

Debby said...

See there? That's why you're a writer, Bill. You can pull this stuff out of

Lydia? I do love salsa. Mind e-mailing me with your recipe?

Stevie? I really think you could make a living with your creativity. Have you ever thought of teaching kids, crafts, arts? You'd be good at that.

Kelly said...

You could always go for a book of essays about your everyday life. Just like writing this blog! I know I would enjoy reading it.

Cheryl said...

Seems like being in the 'perfect' place. What a wonderful feeling Debby.
I am slightly envious of your blueberry stories. They were to be top of my list for planting when we settled into farm life. Now that I am learning to manage with the use of just my left hand it seems to be an imposibility.
So glad you have found your rhythm with your studies...

Jayne said...

What a lovely post and what lovely people you meet and know!
Yep, definitely you were meant to be everywhere!

quid said...

I do think Kelly's right, Debby. There is such a strong link from your everyday essays to those of us who read them.

I truly enjoyed your post. I have been laid off recently and may have to move; I'm somewhat resistant because it feels so much like I run into small pieces of myself in knowing people wherever I go here. We'll see. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this. It's a favorite of mine:

Where I Belong

~ Simran Oberoi Multani

For a very long time I believed,
No place was better than where I was born,
Where life’s best years were spent,
It had the most soothing night and the most inspiring dawn.

Then I made some “life-choices”,
My wings took me across lands and seas,
To magical destinations which enticed me,
Lured me and satiated my curiosity.

Wanderlust is indeed intoxicating,
As I travelled more, I craved for more.
It gave me a thrill, few experiences could match,
It gave me the courage to learn and explore.

Each place excited me, left me wonderstruck,
Gave me unique and lifelong memories,
But none could weave me into its fabric,
None could shape or enmesh me.

I drifted from corner to corner,
Floated from shore to shore,
Without a purpose, without a direction,
Seeking new horizons, but thirsting for more.

My soul’s search did not end,
Meandering from peak to peak,
It slipped into chasms unknown,
And yet it emerged to seek.

It felt a sense of newness,
Oneness the solitary traveler could not feel.
Pieces of itself it found in each place,
The mystery of its identity, none could reveal.

My spirit was not captivated,
As it grew weary of journeying,
Filled with past adventures from outside,
Not within, a lifetime had acquired its learning.

I reached the point where my life began,
Stared in amazement at each piece of memory,
Rebuilt the lost years, reconnected the moments,
And felt the first sense of peace in years – a sense of liberty.

I had reached the source of “me”,
Rediscovered that no place was better than where I was born,
From where my soul had wandered,
But in the twilight it had returned to be reborn.

Lori said...

You know how sometimes while you're reading a blog post you start thinking to yourself what you're going to leave as a comment? Well, the whole while I was reading this one, I was thinking, "You were where you were supposed to be that day!" And then you said it yourself at the very end. I hope you have many more days like that one.