Miracle Message at the Corner Store

Years ago I realized I couldn't really write much when I was busy running from obligation to 'have to,' 'got to,' and it will 'only be a few minutes.' My high school writing teacher warned me about "spreading myself too thin." Too bad I never dropped weight when fragmenting myself, because I learned how to multitask with the best of them.

Oh, I could make notes and write about what I wanted to write about easily enough. A writing friend once told me, "I've never known anyone to write as much about wanting to write as you do."

I finally learned about nine years ago that shutting out the world and learning to say no really does make a difference. In December of 2004 I said no to everything and everyone and was able to write nine pieces. It took me about three or four days to chill out, shutting off the guilt for saying no until I began to revel in the quiet of not rushing to and fro in the big city.

Then, all of a sudden, without much effort a story sort of fell out of my fingertips. That felt so good after a few hours another idea popped up and I had the energy to get that down as well. It's like I got into a zone where I could function without too much beating myself up. I was in the flow. Of course the 'zone flow' evaporated once I had to cross the street out of my apartment unit and head back down the hill to do grocery shopping, work, and socializing.

It's unrealistic to live in that zone all the time. So in the last decade I slowly withdrew, making fewer promises and selecting certain days to run all my errands, instead of running out constantly for this and that. Saved gas mileage as well.

Today after holding my mom's hand during her second bone marrow biopsy, I decided to run a few extra errands before getting home. I stopped by the neighborhood mom and pop pharmacy to see if I could replace an incredibly attractive set of reading glasses I bought there six months ago for $7 that broke the other day. Needa, the gal behind the counter, was vexing over a letter she was trying to write to a vendor.

"I've spent three days trying to figure out how to word this." I grabbed my 99 cent store reading glasses out of my purse and within four minutes wrote the paragraph that was missing which would sell the vendor on Needa's proposition. Her jaw dropped open. "That's perfect. How did you do that?"

I discovered she was studying gerontology and told her about my new idea how to help others organize medical paperwork in order to get the most out of the confusion health care delivers in the least amount of time. I gave her my card.

"I live around the corner. Don't vex for three days next time. Just call me." My mom held my aunt's hand when she had her bone marrow biopsy. Then I held my mom's hand when she had her first one in 2004. She held my hand last year when I couldn't put off my own bone marrow biopsy any longer. I wasn't going to let anyone else hold her hand today. I wondered who would hold my hand next time I need one, which will hopefully not be for another five or so years. Internally I heard a voice say, "When the time comes, someone will be happy to hold your hand."

We are never really alone. No matter what trial awaits us or causes us grief, other friendly souls with just the right ingredient for the moment appear to make the recipe work.