by Warren Bull
In one week a couple who are friends of my wife and me celebrated the marriage of their granddaughter and mourned the death of the wife’s brother. Their emotions swung from joy with a hint of sadness to grief with a touch of happy remembrance. I don’t think they got much sleep. Judy and I joined them in their happiness and their grief.
Their family is one of those with a variety of gifts bestowed on them such as intelligence and musicality. Other gifts they developed such as empathy and caring. They have also worked to enhance their abilities in those gifts. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is an honor to be friends with them. Our friends say they are just ordinary people. They are impressed with Judy’s academic achievements and by my writing. We are definitely impressed by them.
Sometimes, if you take the time and pay attention, you can see the extraordinary in what is usually described as ordinary. I sometimes enjoy walking and climbing stairs. Part of the reason I do is because on two occasions following bone marrow transplants for multiple myeloma for about a month each time I could not do either one without going slowly and resting often.
I now recall my thirty-year-long career with a sense of satisfaction. I had to retire because either cancer or, more likely chemotherapy, left me unable to put enough distance between my emotions and my reaction to those emotions. When I think or hear about something sad, I fund it hard not to start crying. I would have liked to work for about two more years but when someone is sobbing during therapy that someone should not be the therapist. Upon reflection I recognized that I had a long career doing something that gave me personal satisfaction and validation. I have known many people who work mainly for the paycheck. I’ve known some people who hated what they did but had to continue working to support themselves and their families.
I don’t get up each morning rejoicing that I am alive and excited about what may happen during this day. That would be really annoying. However, on occasion I try to see past the mundane to seek something greater. I believe something greater is always there to be found when I really search for it.