I Refuse to Stop Believing in the Kindness of Others

I woke up today stressed.

Went to sleep last night stressed.

Had weird stress related sleep last night.

I woke up multiple times convinced it was the wrong day, the wrong time of day.  Reality:  it’s Sunday morning (like wee early in the morning morning).

My brain is convinced it’s Tuesday morning and I’m late for work.

My brain is convinced it’s the middle of the afternoon.

To combat the stress, while my daughter watched first Once Upon a Time and then Star Wars number 2 (something with Hayden Christiansen), I did yoga.  I moved through warrior poses, did a mean boat pose.  I stretched limbs, cracked joints, and found out that my hips really are not enjoying all of this yoga stuff.

But I won’t stop.  Because when I’m in the middle of a downward facing dog pose, I’m completely focused on my hand placement and splaying my fingers and making sure that I’m not about to slip and land on my face.

Eventually, my hips will understand that this to for their benefit as well and will stop grumbling.  Because as I strengthen all those muscles, next year’s Appalachian Trail campaign will be a breeze.

I wrote a post earlier.  Had to ditch it.  I didn’t like where it was going, didn’t like the comparison I was making even though the comparison wasn’t there.  Didn’t like the undertones.

It’s saved.  Maybe I’ll revisit it another day.  Maybe it’ll just live in a digital, literary limbo. Talk to two other posts that are living there as well.

Even as I write, I can feel the tension surging like overly-taut cords looped around the edges of my clavicles.  The wishbone hollow at the base of my neck feels heavy.

And then, to distract myself, I surfed/scrolled through Facebook.  Found a video a friend had posted.  The introductory still-frame was a dog, trapped.  It had fallen through a frozen lake and was perilously clinging to the icy surface.  I am no dog whisperer, no great reader of canine body language, but I recognized it’s distress.

This dog knew that without intervention it was going to die.

I should have scrolled; the tension I was already feeling merely tightened as I waited for the video to start.

Sure enough, the dog was in the water, it’s heavy coat saturated which was only weighing it down.  And then, the camera pans back a little to show two or three men in a  canoe or small boat.  They are struggling to paddle through the lake, breaking up the ice, chopping at the inches of frozen, heavy water without capsizing the vessel.

I couldn’t wait.  I couldn’t handle seeing the terrified animal staring ahead, not even registering the saviors who were approaching.  I clicked on the progress bar, maybe skipped twenty seconds and arrived as the lead man dipped his arm below the surface, grabbed the dog’s ruff, and heaved.




And into the boat.

The video skips forward to the point where firefighters (I assume all of the men were from a specific company) pulled the boat to the dock, assisted the rescuers with stepping out.

A man cradled the dog and the other firefighters immediately started wrapping the animal in blankets.  One after the other, they swaddled the dog whose eyes were still wide with terror.  Carefully, the firefighters tucked the edges of the blankets around the dog, trying to find a way to prevent hypothermia.

To ensure that the dog was completely wrapped, another man took the dog into his arms, and another blanket was wrapped around it.  By the end of the video, the dog’s eyes still show its terror, the overarching horror.

But it’s alive.  Alive.  Alive.  Gloriously alive and even though, at that moment, the dog was  likely not out of danger, I am going to conjecture that it lived and survived this ordeal and was reunited with its owner.

That is the reality I am going to choose to believe in.

Maybe this makes me a bit dim-witted.  I’m okay with that.  Thanks to a rather optimistic personality and a mischievous spirit, people think I’m a bit obtuse at times anyhow.

But, I still have my survival in a world that, right now, is scaring me.  When I see the picture of the little Syrian boy, his eyes outlined in dark gray diamonds of grit and what might be blood, his face covered in a patina of a light grey dirt, I feel the absence of hope.

And then I hear about the little boy who saw coverage of this story and has asked for President Obama to bring the Syrian boy to America so that the American child can care for and protect his new friend.

I receive beautiful emails that remind me of the simple kindness of the human spirit.

I am tense and anxious and about to head off to the gym so I can spend an hour doing cardio.  I hope that I will wear through the veneer of anxiety and set my mind back to getting my grading done.  Regardless, the stressor will pass (I do have a legitimate stressor) and I will find the edges of my regularly-scheduled life again.

Until then, I am going to cling to hope.  I am going to believe in the solidity of the goodness of the human spirit.  Tonight, I am going to see my in-laws and we are going to celebrate our nephew’s birthday.  And while I am there, I am going to let the stressor fall away.  I’ll tuck it into my back pocket and I will focus on the joy that exists when family comes together to love and celebrate one of their own.  I am going to be curled into the warm, protective arches of hugs.  Likely, my mother-in-law will kiss me on the cheek.  My father-in-law will ask me about my parents’ well-being.

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables would always say that “‘Tomorrow is another day.'”

She’s right.  For now, I think I’ll just keep reminding myself that no matter what is brought to me, I have warm blankets, a family who loves me, and the kindness of others as a way to shore up the weak spots in my vertebrae.



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