What a week it's been. I don't know what they put in the water down here, but the whole country should be drinking it. I am once again humbled by kindness on a daily basis.
When I left LA, it was because my very ability to survive was in question. I don't even want to consider what would have happened to me if I had gone back after Miss Lillian passed away. That, like LA as I was crossing the desert, is now in my rear view mirror. I had only hoped that by staying here, I would learn to breathe again. That was all I wanted. Such a simple biological act had become nearly impossible to do without panic; not a morning went by when I didn't cry in the shower. Who knew I would learn to smile like a Texas beauty queen?
I had turned into an angry, bitter, cynical uber-bitch and didn't even realize it. Here in East Tennessee, it's a challenge to not greet everyone you encounter. And it's uncomfortable for me, which is really sad. I had perfected the art of scowling and not making eye contact; refusing to connect. It appears that these folks are bound and determined to cure me of that. Lucky me.
I have recently settled into my new gig as the assistant to a health care executive. She is amazing - normal, kind...human. And rather than be viewed with suspicion and held at an appraising distance as "Lynn's new assistant"; I have been so relentlessly welcomed by so many total strangers that my smile muscles are damned near paralyzed. I'm talking about people coming over to my office just to introduce themselves, offer assistance should I need it, and then end with my favorite local expression: "We're so glad to have ya!" There's no such thing as sitting alone in the lunchroom. If you're in it, you're part of the conversation whether you want to be or not.
While watching the Golden Globes this past weekend, I kept waiting for the moment that I would feel a twinge of nostalgia for my former studio life...it never came. This morning when I heard Cathy yell across her cubicle "Becky, did ya get those roosters yet?" I just had to pinch myself to stop myself from smiling. The conversation then drifted to the weather, and how cold it's been (7 degrees last Thursday morning) and how hard it's been to keep the pipes from freezing so that the cattle could get water.
This gives me hope. I had come to view the rest of the world and my life through perpetually narrowed, angry eyes. I had no idea that you could be content just to be content; but I'm bound and determined to learn.
And speaking of hope...PostSecret.com is where I go to pray and meditate on Sunday mornings. To witness a bit of the collective consciousness of a weary and difficult world, and then send out a bit of healing light when I'm done...GivesMeHope.com is where I go to remind myself that it's working.
Go and be renewed. You'll smile like a Texas beauty queen.