I love a small town.
I love MY small town. I don't care what all the complainers say-- it has heart.
And it's all happening down at the Publix on the north side of town. Here's what I love: when people say, "Excuse me!" or "Hey, you dropped this!" or "Can I help you with that?" I love when people smile at you, looking you straight in the eye, as they pass you on the cereal aisle.
Today, the grocery store felt like Christmas. People seemed to genuinely have good will toward each other. The smile and nod didn't feel rushed or obligatory-- it felt, when I smiled at this one lady squeezing past my awkwardly placed buggy, that I was pushing happiness through my face and that she reflected it back. No big deal. No commitment required. Just toss it back and forth, like a ball. Toss it and keep going.
Another thing I love about going to our neighborhood grocery store is the fact that I can always count on bumping into friends. Russell and I see each other the most often, and after that is Nancy (whom I haven't seen in a while). Caroline is another regular, as is our good mutual friend Beverly :) (haven't seen her in a while either, come to think of it). This afternoon I saw Carter and one of his beautiful daughters, as well as a couple from my Sunday school class and another family from church. On the way out of the store, I saw Moose, one of the nicest people I've ever met and the owner of my favorite local coffeehouse, Kaiteur.
Peace on earth, good will toward men... Christmas in July. Even though it's August.
It doesn't hurt that the weather in Georgia is gorgeous today. The high was in the mid-80's, which is unbelievably cool for right now, and there's hardly any humidity. The sky is full of gigantic puffy clouds, blown up here from the hurricanes threatening the gulf and the east coast.
Here's something I'm finding: it's okay to enjoy things. I feel really, genuinely happy, even though there are those moments where I remember that someone is missing. Sometimes I feel like I'm walking a tightrope when it comes to that... just keep moving, keep pressing ahead, experiencing things that come, but trying not to get mired down. Sometimes going to the grocery store makes me cry-- especially right after Ben died-- but sometimes it's like today. Either way, you have to go. Best to try to focus on the good. Just keep moving.
Keep moving. That reminds me of something funny. One of my students has, for some reason, starting calling me "Mrs. Dori" from Nemo. I have no idea when it started, but she loves calling me her "Dori teacher" and something in it just makes me smile. Is it that I said, "Just keep swimming" without realizing it? (entirely possible) Have I told them not to get mired down in failure and to keep moving when it seems like they're going to fail? Or is it that she thinks I'm resilient? I don't think I sound like Ellen DeGeneres, and I'm not orange...
But it's true. There is very much a sense of "Just keep swimming" on this season...
There's always more to write, but I have to go finish planning for the week. Many blessings on you-- and thank you for the notes of encouragement. It's so good to know that there are so many of us on this journey together-- whether you've walked through the same experience, your own grief, or you can just empathize... thank you. At the risk of sounding trite, let's just keep swimming...
** Update-- 8/27 So, I asked my student why she was calling me Miss Dori and I laughed so hard when she told me the answer. It's because this whole year I have been so forgetful!!! I've struggled with remembering their names, what time the bell was going to ring, what day of the week it was... ha!!! Oh well, I'm keeping the "keep swimming" thing... :)