Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Some days it’s harder to get started than others. Today was that kind of day. Lisa had to pry me out of bed.
“It’s election day!” she said. “Time to get up and vote.”
You would have thought she was ten and it was her birthday, or that she was successfully running for mayor.
I wasn’t having any of it, especially not at 6:15 a.m.
“Let’s go get coffee. And then we can vote! We can be there just around 7:00 a.m. when they open. Then I can go to school.”
Lisa is a teacher, kindergarten and first grade.
Can’t you just see her in the classroom, “Look, kids, I voted!” as she shows them her red, white, and blue, “I Voted!” sticker stuck on her shirt?
Makes a grump like me just want to scream. Doesn’t she know I have things to think about, and things to be worry about, and things to be grumpy (I refuse to say depressed.) about?
Doesn’t she know that I woke up worrying about the recession, which is wearing me down financially and emotionally, at around 4 a.m., and couldn’t get back to sleep until about a minute before she woke me at 6:15 a.m., with her shuffling and getting ready and printing out the newspaper's Election day guide to the various candidates and ballot initiatives?
She had been preparing for this for days.
I wasn’t having any of it. I was genuinely tired. I still am, as I write this. (Can you hear the tiny violins playing in the background?) I would vote later in the day, at some reasonable hour, like 7:00 p.m.
“Be gone, with thee, woman, and let me sleep, or at least let me lie here feeling sorry for myself.”
She must have sensed my thoughts, or simply inferred from the pillow over my head that I wasn’t going anywhere. That’s when she broke out with one of her secret weapons. She was dressed and ready to go, but she quietly layed down in bed next to me, the guy with the pillow over his head, and snuggled close behind me. That’s all. She said nothing, but I could feel her back there. She rested her hand on my back. She took her time, the sneak, and just layed there breathing, of all things, right next to me.
And a lot of crap just drained away from me.
Yes, the economy is tough. Yes, I’m not sure where all the money will come from. Yes, real estate prices are still drifting downwards. Yes, I’m frustrated, but it’s a fine Tuesday, Election Day Tuesday at that. And my coaching practice is going well. And the kids are amazing. And I live in a great town, in a great, though somewhat bruised, country.
There are no thugs outside my door. Armed police wouldn’t break in and arrest me for criticizing the government, as they had just done to a billionaire (have they no respect?) newspaper publisher in Russia. Nor would they harass me if I voted for Daffy Duck for governor of California this fine Election Day morning. I know this is not true of all voting places in this great country of ours, so we need to be like Lisa, and get up real early and be one of the first to vote, and keep on voting, and keep on teaching those little kids, and those not-so-little kids, and those big kids, and those adults, and ourselves how to live full, passionate lives.
Tough economy or not, bad night’s sleep or not, grouchy or not, it’s time to get up, and be thankful for all the blessings in our lives, which if you are really lucky includes being blessed with someone in your life who knows how to get you out of bed and into your life when you’re not so sure how to do it for yourself.
Or maybe it’s your eyes that can bless you and help you get out of bed by showing you the magnificent light pouring through your bedroom window. Or maybe it’s your ears showering you with the raucous sound of crows from a nearby telephone wire. Or maybe you are blessed by the knowledge that your child needs to be awakened and fed and taken to school.
            Some days it’s harder than others. We all know those days. That’s when you have to try your hardest. That’s when you need help, like I did. But you have to let the world in so it can help you, whether it’s the touch of another person, the whistle of a teapot, or the light streaming in your bedroom window. The world is here for you, but you have to let it in.

            Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
            are heading home again. 
            Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
            the world offers itself to your imagination, 

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.
                                                Mary Oliver

I can be reached at drjohnfluca@gmail.com  805/680-5572.

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