“Because I live where I’m free to do what I feel is best for me, I’m going to walk this morning. And I’m gonna leave the iPod in the car and not ignore those walking past me because I’m too busy listening to my music. And instead say “Good Morning” to no less than 3 people. And genuinely mean it. Because it genuinely is.”
That was my status on Facebook this morning.
Laughter is my very favorite thing in life (next to cake icing) but I’m not feeling humorous today. So, I apologize in advance for not much har-dee-har-harism.
(And even though it’s 09/11, I’m so miserably over the “where were you?” discussions. And that’s not to disrespect the day. I was in the airline industry at the time, so believe me when I say…I will never forget. I will remember much longer than most others probably will.)
Back to my promise though, of being nice today.
I get to Town Lake, park the car and reach for my iPod.
You see, I’m a serious creature of habit. I drive the same path to work, I wear the same earrings with certain clothes, I buy the same toilet paper. It’s bad. (The habit, not the toilet paper.)
Water bottle in left hand, iPod in right hand. Religiously.
But, I said I was leaving it in the car, so in the car it stayed. And so did the water bottle.
Those first few minutes were hard. Both hands were free. No ties. No binds. I didn’t know what to do with them. I felt a little lost. But I kept going.
I also said I would say “good morning” to at least 3 people. Normally, I make no eye contact with anyone and my music keeps me company. This morning…I felt a little lost. And a little alone.
I wondered what people would think. What? Stupid girl walking with no iPod? Really? Then I remembered what a wise old biker once told me years ago: “It’s none of your business what people think of you.”
He’s right. If I worry about that, I’ll smother out who I am to be who they want. So, I don’t.
Within 10 minutes I had done my “good mornings” and gotten’em over with. Thank God. Two replied with a smile and a nod and one acted like she didn’t hear me. But I know she did…and she knows she did.
And yes…maybe I did mumble something under my breath. I’m the very last one in the ‘perfection line’…but I try.
I decided I would throw caution to the wind and take a different path. So, I got to Congress Street and took a left. Straight to the Capitol.
As I walked, I realized it was all uphill. Kinda like life has been at times. Oh, who am I kidding…it’s uphill most of the time.
What the hell? I just said it again without realizing it and my quota had already been met.
And he said it back.
The closer I got to 6th Street, the more I knew this crap was all uphill and my sweat had convinced me it was an asinine idea to take a different path. But I was more than half way there and wasn’t turning around now.
“Hey…morning.” Now, I was the one being acknowledged. And I was the one replying. Cool.
There were several more times I heard greetings and gave greetings to those I passed. I didn’t feel quite so lost. And certainly not alone. And both hands were still swinging free. I had let go.
I circled the grounds of the Capitol and headed back. It was easier now. Downhill always is.
As I walked through the gates back onto the street and pushed the “walk/don’t walk” button…I looked back up at that big building on that hill. And I smiled.
I thought about all of those people who have fought going uphill the whole way to make it to my country. I’m sure they felt a little lost. And most certainly they had to feel alone. But they kept going.
And good for them. May the strong survive.
Though my trek back to the car was, what felt like 64 miles away…it was a little easier. Just a tad. As I got to the corner of 1st & Congress I thought “My God, I’m never gonna make it.”
And just then…I heard the bells. Those strong, solid, echoing church bells. I’m gonna think that was God telling me I ‘was’ gonna make it. And that I wasn’t as lost as I thought. And that I was most certainly not alone.
So, even though I think I knew all this, I was reminded this morning that:
1. It’s ok to mix it up every now and then try a new path.
2. I will always eventually get back the good I put out.
3. Downhill is easier, but I have to go uphill first.
“Where were you?” is fine. But for me, it does my heart much more good to think about “where am I?”
And even…”where am I going?”