“I can’t believe how fast things move on the outside…the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.” – Brooks.
That quote is from one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. I slowed myself down this week by watching that and another of Stephen King’s stories, “It.” I hadn’t seen a movie in months because I don’t own a television. When my daughter texted me to tell me my Grand Dog, Misha was not well and wondered whether I wanted to visit with her, I went over to spend the day with her watching movies, enjoying the company of daughter Rachel and her boyfriend and playing sous chef to complement the creation of her new vegetarian chili recipe.
In that scene where Brooks is released after decades from Shawshank Prison, his quote comes narrated in the form of a letter he writes to his still incarcerated prisoner friends. His profound words hold much truth for me. With social media, text, emails and comment lines everywhere, we use fewer words to express less, quicker. The human connection gets diluted. With so many typing and so few listening, meaning is lost. My preference is small group or one-on-one conversation, so I intentionally carve out time in my schedule for those opportunities as often as I can. It gives me the chance to listen, and I love that. This week it was dinner and dialog with my hair stylist/friend turned holistic Bach Flower practitioner; no phones required. It was a fascinating evening of hearing about her professional and personal lives filled with laughter and smiles that ended in a warm hug. When I got in my car to go home, the clock on the dashboard revealed that we’d been talking for four hours, and not in short phrases or abbreviated words. Time flies when you’re having fun.
Joy was also delivered via the snail mailbox this week. I received a book from another one of my favorite Authors, Dave Barry. It’s called Best. State. Ever. And it’s about my Happy Place of Florida. Dave’s words and viewpoints have never failed to make me laugh out loud when I read them, and this book is no exception. He’s also a great guy in general, having responded to the letters I’ve written to him through the years with a personal note. Based on our shared ability to see the wonderful, hysterical absurdity of human behavior (and the results), I’m convinced that we’re twins separated at birth. The only difference is that he was published first for his observations, and I was institutionalized. Smiles! Somehow he managed to skirt the system. Anyway, I’ve been laughing all week at the book. Snail mail also brought a note handwritten in green ink from a friend author, another Dave. He lined up some beautiful sentences of gratitude in a way that touched my heart as tender words always do. Words do not always travel from the soul to the hand to the paper. How awesome when they do. It’s what I strive to pass onto others.
Recently I wrote about my promise to leave a note of appreciation for the workers who collect my garbage/recyclables in the frigid temperatures. I penned it with a Sharpee on a large piece of paper and secured it with mailing tape to the lid of the garbage can before I rolled it to the end of the driveway. The fun I felt while doing that was rewarding and doubled since I was freezing in the garage as I taped it. When I came home from work the next day, the note was gone. I told the story to my daughter who made me laugh by saying, “They probably threw it out.” No matter. The joy is in the giving of the words.
Capture Life Writing will soon be graduating from just a Blog to a more organized entity in the form of promoting mental wellness through human connection and the power of words. This will involve encouraging writers, guiding others toward their authentic selves and paths, sharing nature essays to those who can no longer immerse themselves in it and helping others tell and publish their stories. Using my passion for words and slowing down my own world brought me back to joy, and it is my desire to spend the rest of my life helping others do the same.
Misha crossed over the Rainbow Bridge last night. We adopted her eight years ago as a three-legged foster and she created for us a lifetime of happy memories. It is hard to let go of family, even the furry kind. I’m grateful for that day spent talking with her and stroking her fur, comforting her during her last moments with us. Passing that time savoring quiet time with loved ones.
Thanks for the reminder, Brooks.