“I am no longer quite sure what the question is but I do know the answer is Yes.” Leonard Bernstein
Yes to life. To choosing life. To taking that step. To asking for help. To reaching out to help another.
These last few days in the rush to Christmas, Trevor, the petrol pump attendant (yes, they still exist), asked me about my Christmas. I then asked him about his.
“Oh, it will be just me and the dog. It has not been the same since my mother died. We will drive around for a bit, and look for a place to eat. McDonalds is always open.” He seemed quite happy with this arrangement. His dog’s name is Scoobie
I felt blessed to have the life I do. And touched by Trevor and his simple measure of happiness.
On Sunday at the beach a girl was wandering around in her party attire, looking completely distressed. “Are you Ok?” I asked. “Yes” she replied…”I am looking for my friends. Thank you for asking.”
And then a man sitting on the bench at the beach having a very charged conversation with an invisible friend.
In my earlier years I mostly ignored/avoided these types of people and conversations. They threatened me in some way. I think they surfaced the very possibility that my safe little world of privilege was only a second away from being shattered…and to see the need in others was too close to the bone of my own insecurity and needs.
But I know this space well now. I know I can be possessed by madness…I have found myself having more than one conversation with myself, usually in a self flagellating way.
I have been far from home at Christmas time and grateful to strangers for welcoming me into their family celebrations.
And I have found myself many times alone, seeking my friends, terrified about how I will make the next step…feeling isolated…yet actually discovering that in that very act of vulnerability I had extraordinary support…but for the asking. And often for the unasked giving of strangers.
I love that age brings you closer to kindness, if you choose to say yes to life.