It's funny how things happen. The chain of events, seemingly random, that bring you to a place where you gain a deeper insight of yourself.
Yesterday was a difficult day, not as hard for me as it was for Rudy, but stressful none the less. My lovely daughter came and waited with me, providing tea and conversation and distraction.
All the tension of the day bubbled up and out last evening when, after leaving the hospital and putting Lindsay on the train back home, I was invited to dinner at my next door neighbour's home. We are extremely fortunate to have good people living close to us who understand that we are a community and know just the right thing to do and don't hesitate in doing it.
So off I go and am welcomed to their table where they also have a friend visiting from the city with her two delightful young daughters.
I found myself babbling on, unable to restrain myself in conversation. Truthfully, my tongue loosened by a touch too much wine, and even though I could hear the little voice in my head saying you are talking too much, you are commandeering these people, it all felt so relieving. And these brilliant people just smiled and let me carry on.
I don't want to overdramatize here...I didn't cry, there was no confrontation, I was just a lot more ME than I usually am. And at the end of the night, I went to bed able to sleep because I felt emptied of all the residual tension of the day.
When I came home today from the hospital, there was a book on my front porch The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks by Stuart McLean. This will probably only mean something to Canadians. Stuart McLean is our Garrison Keillor of NPR's A Prairie Home Companion. Every Sunday at noon McLean hosts a radio show on CBC that he writes called The Vinyl Cafe. It's hard to adequately describe this show...I guess radio variety is the simplest definition; but it's more than that. This show centres around this man, his writing and his singular voice. Lisa, the visitor to my neighbour and I discovered a shared a love of this programme and this man last night, so she, very kindly, left this book for me, and on the fly-leaf she inscribed: "To Jackie, Because Stuart McLean's voice brings you comfort. Lisa"
As I sat having my dinner this evening...a marvelous tomato and chicken-stuffed avocado salad with olives, mouth-watering goat cheese and delicious balsamic dressing...yes, you guessed it, supplied yet again by my loving neighbours and delivered to my door...I began reading these notes, these thoughts of Mr. McLean's, and one touched my heart. One written on 27 September 2009 called The People You Love. The content of the story, while interesting, isn't apropos to this commentary, but the last paragraph is. McLean writes:
"...it is time for you to believe, as Max Ehrmann said, that 'you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. With all it's sham and drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.' There are people waiting to love you. You might not believe that; but that may be the truest thing I have ever written. If they aren't around you now, believe me, they exist..."
So this brings me from my random, winding journey at the start of yesterday, sitting in that over-heated, ancient hospital waiting room for nearly six hours not sure what was going on, good daughter by my side, to being included in a lovingly prepared meal with kind, caring people, to the touching generosity of a newly-met friend and to finding this kind and clever man's words; to reach this self-understanding that in our darkest and most vulnerable moments, it's all about the need to feel loved. Now I KNOW I am loved, but it's the FEEL part that is all-important here and that is an entirely different thing. Those amazing people yesterday recognized that need in me, consciously or not and through kindness, simple basic, never to be minimized, kindness, made me feel loved.
"In the end, only kindness matters." Jewel