My friend Kathy recently sent me an email message with Charles Schultz’s Philosophy. The message was about the folly of trying to remember who won the Nobel Peace Prize or the Academy Award for best actor because those details are not what’s really important in life. More important is remembering those who made a difference in our lives. The message included a list of questions. In homage to those who have made a difference in my life, I am reporting my answers here:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. These are some of my influential teachers though not all of them were part of school life. Marion was my swim coach who made me exert every effort toward excellence; Aleta was a teacher in college who made it perfectly clear what needed to be learned and provided multiple ways to grasp the info; Jim made me think outside of the box and never let me get away with a shallow argument; Nancy has walked me through some of life’s hardest lessons with guidance grounded in Buddhist precepts; Cherie is my yoga teacher extraordinaire whose insightful instruction always transcends the body to engage the spirit. (This list does not include any of my marvelous writing teachers—topic for a later blog)
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. This is really hard to keep to three because I have a lot of friends, so here are the ones who have been with me through my most difficult times: Oldest friend: Raymond who was there for so many years, helping me learn about love that knows how to let go. Old friends: Carol M., who always made me see my life from a fresh vantage point; Trish, who shares my name and birth month and with whom I sorted through the heavy-handed cultural conditioning regarding “married-for-life”; Linda, who helped me see the world and women more authentically; Tia, who stood beside me during all manner of professional difficulty and who kept me well-groomed to boot. Newest friends: Lynn, who is my loyal email buddy thereby providing me the remarkable gift of writing a daily review of life; Kathy, who arrived on the scene as I was melting in a puddle of professional sorrow and revived me with a multiplicity of goodness; Annie whose brilliance astounds me and challenges me to keep thinking and growing and always, always keep playing, a challenge that got me through my last year at the college.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. My mother taught me to see everyone’s good reason. Buck taught me that I am lovable even when enraged. Lori taught me that the hardest lap is the third one in a four lap mile. Crackers taught me about the complexity of love between two women. My kids teach me humility, delight, surrender, humor, and unfathomable love.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special. Linda S. was the first person I remember giving me a gift that was all about knowing me. Jeff asked me how my day was when it seemed like no one else cared. Andrea is a generous reader of my writing and feeds me on my birthday. Jay has always treated me with amazing respect and understanding. Anna Mae makes me cards and gifts and calls me on the phone and always remembers to ask how I’m doing. Cindy thinks I’m beautiful and says thank you when I don’t even know what I’ve done that deserves thanks.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
Cindy—I still miss her every minute we are a part; Christine—We always pick up right where we left off; Michael—We both love JL enormously, making our time together a gabfest that always circles back to her; Ginger--One smart baby sister who I love to walk and talk with. Nell—Every moment with her is entertaining and super sweet.