July Tawpic for the Day: Discuss
Yikes! This one’s a doozy. I can’t play the victim if I believe this to be true. And I have played the victim. I have wallowed, for years and perhaps decades, in the injustice and powerlessness of the 10%. I was victimized by the events of my life and donned, even clung to the labels and events as all I could ever be. I could go way back to childhood, but there is no point. I am not a child. I say it all the time, “No child asked to be born.” We are brought here and are subject, by virtue of our age, innocence, and immaturity to whatever life dishes out. Adults create a world for us, good or bad, to our liking or not. I learned a powerlessness over myself and my destiny at this time. Joy and pain, gifts and punishments happened TO me. I told myself that the world did these good and bad things TO me and I had to live with ’em. I was powerless over what happened to me and there was no other way. I took this line of bull, to heart. I carried this malarkey, as gospel, into my adulthood. I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. I was rooted in finding the answer to the question “Why me?” Why did I have a stroke? Poor me. It is better for me to live in the simple answer, “why not me?”
My sister/friend and I in college, loved and found great insights in THE INDIGO GIRLS. We loved them and this common bond helped me build a relationship with her. College was a happy time for me. I stopped sitting on the sidelines of my own life. I jumped into college with both feet and no net. I looked to these singer songwriters to help guide me. I got to see them in concert freshman year. It was incredible. The two women, their lyrics and music spoke to me. Their songs gave voice to me. They made sense out of the senseless. I loved that they could do that. In that turbulent angst of young adulthood, my sister/friend and I clung to one song in particular as an anthem. And to this day, the song echoes clearly in my mind’s eye. Watershed. http://musicandlyric.org/indigo-girls-watershed.html
I can still see how the Rachel of those years, was seeking love and connection in her life. When I play “Watershed,” I can close my eyes and know that even back then, I yearned to live life on life’s terms, but hadn’t a clue how. I was big on the questions in life…the big questions.
I didn’t know that I could change how I reacted to the world. And in that change, that movement and action, I would be changed for the better. And those around me would benefit. The ripple effect is powerful. I didn’t see that. I am not sure why. It doesn’t really matter now. What matters is that I did learn about the 90%. I credit my stroke with this transformation. I am a stubborn, Old New England, Irish, thick headed gal. This hard head still doesn’t take subtle hints. My stroke didn’t tap me on the shoulder, and gently suggest that I live my life right. My stroke was the hard blow to the head that I couldn’t ignore. Everything changed. I changed in that instant. I couldn’t ignore what happened to me. My stroke was a stroke of luck. It was the lesson that I needed to learn to live life right. It is my choice today, and each day that I am blessed to have.
Ever since I can remember, one of the truly “good” things that life did TO me, was my Dad reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, to our family every year. I knew parts of that book verbatim, long before I could read. He read it. We read it. We went to see my uncle perform in it at Trinity Repertory Theater in Providence. “Bah Humbug” is a favorite year round phrase, useful for countless situations.
I read it to my students most years. One year, I had many staff members read different roles on a daily basis. That was magical. The line that sticks out to me now, the connection I am trying to make to the TAWPIC for today is this: “May you be happy in the life you have chosen.” This line always struck me. Even before I felt that I had any choice, this line got me. It is in Stave 2. The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge on a tour of HIS own past. He cannot impact, just witness. The Ghost shows him his one true love. They part ways, she tells him these powerful words and lets him go. He is following a path of the almighty buck (or pound) and that is not her path. She releases Scrooge. And until the Ghosts, Scrooge has know no other love than that of money. His choice. This version is worth a full view, but the heart of it is from 5:46 til the end.
As a child of the seventies, I hold the Muppets in the highest regard. For a while, I imagined I was adopted and was really born to the Muppet Family. Yup. I loved them. And with all the family favorite recordings of A Christmas Carol aside, My favorite is this. And their song, with Scrooge coming to terms, sums up the message for me, of the 10%.
The visitation of the Ghosts for Scrooge is like my Stroke. They came even though Scrooge did not invite them. My Stroke caught me totally off guard and was not in the least bit welcome. Scrooge watches his past, without power to alter the events. He cries out “NO MORE,” to the Ghosts. He doesn’t want to see it anymore. He is really touching the pain of what was done to him and what he did. He doesn’t like it. But the lessons don’t stop coming. He has to bear it, even though he thinks it will break him. We know, and he learns, that our past cannot limit us from loving and living.
I was struck still for years by my Stroke, slowed in my life, forced (I thought) to only watch life pass me by. My Stroke changed everything about me and ripped my foundation out. I couldn’t go back to who I was, didn’t like where I was at, and had no desire to keep it going into tomorrow. I was faced with my own mortality and hated what I saw of my life so far. And yet, I didn’t see a way out or different. No one can go back and change the past. I knew that. My stroke made me get right sized, real quick. And yet it took years to see this as a gift, not a curse. NOTHING in our past is without limitless lessons for our present.
When Scrooge is with the Ghost of Christmas Present he looks in on the lives of those around him. He is not a part of the life. He is, as I was for years after my Stroke, watching life happen to others and himself, and yet in no real way a part of it. He watches others and he is powerless to change them at all. I have felt that. I want to change what is happening in the world. And I know I can’t. He couldn’t go back and fix, redo or erase what had happened to him or how he had reacted. I can’t go back either. No one can. Can they? I don’t entertain deep philosophical dilemmas like that. I can’t afford to indulge in that. And I am powerless over what happens to me or the world at this moment. Aren’t we all, for the most part?
But that helpless void is not the end for me or Scrooge. The void was of my own making. Life is full, not empty. I see that now. The one, two, three punch of The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future for Scrooge brought Scrooge from the 10% to the 90%. Surviving My Stroke, or I believe any life changing severe disease or loss, certainly makes clear how very little power we have over the events that happen to us in our lives. We are faced with our own mortality. We are faced with how much we are changed by everything in life. And that is not a punishment. That is a gift. For in that understanding is 100% of a life, second to none.
What I do with what life gives me, is the key. I can’t go back and change things, good or bad, and I don’t want to anymore. But I can hold sacred my history and learn from it. I cannot control what those around me do or what happens to them right now. Even if I am right next to them holding their hand, they can be hurt. But I can be a part of life today. I can contribute. I can do something for others. And I can’t predict, or even really prepare for the totally unknown tomorrow. I know that. I have learned that the hard way. Anyone who survives, knows that powerlessness over the future. But I have total choice, with a lot of daily practice and the help of my Goddog, over how I react to the events in my life. Survivors, like me know, the totally unmerited gift of today and each day we are given. It is a gift to be alive today. So many beloved do not have that gift. They are my angels. It is futile, and dangerous for me, to presume to ask why I have this gift while they do not. I am here to do and speak, for them. When I keep it that simple, I’m good. What am I meant to do today? Who am I meant to help? The Indigo Girls’ song tells my story. I tried to fly “as the crow flies.” I “stood there and agonized.” But now, I am “learning to face, that path at my pace,” and loving “the country mile.”
July 10th 2003
INR was 1.7 on Tuesday. So everyday I need to take 12.5 mg of Coumadin. I don’t feel good. I am just so tired. My swallow is doing great. I should be happy. But if I swallow like normal, they will take Carole away from me. What will happen then? What do I do then? What is the plan for me then? How do I get back to my life? Does anyone know, because I sure don’t. Does anyone care, because I am not sure I do.
Mom is still down the Cape for her vacation. She comes back on Saturday. I can’t believe it has been two weeks. She sounds like she is resting, enjoying sun and sand and peace. We haven’t had that much rain, so I go over to water everyday. But I am not going today.
There is no good news in the mail this week. The phone calls aren’t that great either. They want me to go back to school in the fall. This fall. I can’t do that. I nap during the day. I sound like a freak and look like one too. I can’t really read right now. And I can’t even walk across a parking lot without sitting and resting. How can they ask me to do this? Don’t they realize what happened? I had a stroke for God’s sake. I might not get any better ever, let alone in a month. What am I going to do? I filled out paperwork and brought new documentation downtown. They smiled at me when I passed it in. I think they were whispering about me when I walked out. But maybe not. I am not really worried about it either way. I mean, I know I can’t do what they want. My Doctor’s say they will help me make downtown understand. I don’t really care if they understand or not. I don’t see “Miss Scanlon” teaching this fall. It’s just not going to happen. I don’t even know “Miss Scanlon” anymore. Who is she?
So I took care of the paperwork for downtown and I saw Carole two times this week. I had Physical Therapy once. I did better on the lunges and squats and even some balancing. I really did better and they are proud of me at my hospital. They see how far I have come. They tell me I am strong and that they think I am great, not I am “doing great.” They make me believe I am great today, while I am with them at my hospital.
I can’t do the jumping and running this week though. I just feel too heavy, like a big anchor is around me. You can’t see it. They didn’t see it. But I swear, it’s there. I just can’t power up that much. I have been dizzy for no reason, except maybe the next stroke is coming. I am so tired all the time and just not really into pushing myself. I wasn’t this tired last month. I don’t understand why I am so tired. My jaw is wicked stiff on both sides. It is getting worse. Oh well. I will have an extra nap and cuddle with Ciro.
I don’t want to and can’t exactly, cuddle with Lola this week. When I took her in last November, the vet thought she was fixed, a dog her age, in good condition…ya di, ya di, ya da. But not so much. She is in heat. I have never had a dog before. But even I recognized what the whining, moaning, blood, bum wiping on the floor, and extra need to be near every male dog in Worcester meant. Ugh. I took her to the vet. I wish I had put a towel on the seat first. I spent an hour scrubbing the passenger seat after we got home. It has been a long, long week. The vet confirmed that she was in heat. Duh! And he said that we can’t do the surgery until the heat is totally over. He scheduled it for July 10th and so today is the day. I was all for the surgery, but money is so tight right now. The vet told me about a scholarship type thing to help pay for the spaying. I filled out the paperwork. And I got it. I got the help. Lola can get the surgery. I guess I am getting good at paperwork. I guess some people want to help me keep my angel puppy healthy.
I dropped Lola off at the vet for 8:30am. I know she will be fine. She is young and healthy. But the pit in my stomach doesn’t seem to know what my head knows. I am lucky to have Carole at 9 o’clock and Kelly at 10. Keeping busy will help. By the time I am done with my hospital today, I can swing by and see how Lola is doing. They told me they would call when the surgery was over, but I want to go there in person. I need to.
She came through just fine. They shaved her tummy, but it is summer so the fur won’t be missed. It will grow back. She licked my hand and smiled at me when I got her. I love her. I can breathe now. The vet says NO STAIRS for Lola for two days. I have to carry her up and down and let her do her business only in the yard for that time. She is light and I am stronger. She is my angel and I can do this, for her.
I get her home with no problems. Ciro gives her a good once over to make sure she is ok. Zoe hisses at her as she smells like VET. I take Lola to bed with me and am glad to finally rest. I do rest better with Lola. I feel safe with her.
July 10th 2016
July 10th is the my dear Godmother/teacher friend’s anniversary. I think it is 16 years today. Wow. That is remarkable. I was a bridesmaid for her. I knew it then, that they were a meant-to-be-couple. I am so grateful we have stayed friends. I wasn’t much of a friend for a few years. But she didn’t give up on me. She loves The Wizard of Oz. Last week, when I was out shopping with Jason, I got her a mug with the characters on it. I know it is a couple anniversary and I only got one mug, but the groom won’t mind. He knows I am a nut. He knows I love his wife. And my friend loves coffee. She has the jumbo grande Keurig.
I will give it to her on Tuesday. On Tuesdays, in the summer, Jason and I go swimming at her house. I love it there. I have gotten to watch her beautiful daughters grow up. I know who likes root beer and who prefers orange soda. I know the actress and the basketball player, who loves TMNTurtles and chocolate and she who prefers marshmallows. Rain or shine, we have fun together. As soon as I walk in the door my teacher/godmother friend offers me a fresh cup of coffee. That is love. I am grateful.
This summer we have had a couple of rainy, cold Tuesdays so far. OK by me. I am working on being a better friend to her. Rainy days with coffee, is a good time to practice. By “better friend,” I mean I want to give her a chance to talk about her year more. We see each other every day at school, but don’t really get a chance to talk. It’s all about the kids there. Imagine! My beloved friend has had some big, unexpected things happen to her this year, and not what you would label as “good.” I think she is doing well and healing. But I want to let her talk. I want to be there for her.
And she is there for me too. It is crazy. I shared/communicated with her. I knew it helped other people and thought that after 20 years, I could probably trust her. So I talked and she helped. I really had no expectation that it would help me. IT just seemed like the right thing to do, so I tried. It worked. I feel better. I feel like a better friend. Who knew? “Life is crazy,” as Jean Granny would say.
I think the good words on Mr. Rogers, in the last entry, are working in me. I watched that show as a toddler. I remember my mother’s big bedroom overlooking the Connecticut River Valley. She had a small black and white television under the windows. Sesame Street came on first. Mr. Rogers followed and a spectacular sunset rose out the windows every night as the Electric Company came on next. After that, Mom would call me down to the big Victorian kitchen for supper. Everyday it seemed that Mr. Rogers spoke right to me, in that room. I remember nodding, and smiling and singing along with him. The friendship-communicating-being a good human-thing seemed simple when it came from him. He spoke in simple terms and what he did seemed to reap good results. The show had the land of Make Believe in it with a King and a Queen and a Prince. They were a beautiful family. I think I left the simple lessons about life in his Land of Make Believe. I overcomplicate things. I never practiced the basics. But this week, Fred’s words and message and my memory, clear as day, of simple smiles in his neighborhood are ringing true.
I am on this communication binge, not venting and spewing big ole’ emotions, but sharing a truth and inviting connection. I know that I need people. I learn how to be a better, happier me, from people. Honestly, alone I am screwed. The bat cave of my mind offers no good to my life now. Been there, done that. And summer vacation is a good time for me to put energy into trying new things. It is a good time to practice new habits and try to make them stick. It always pays off when I pay it forward. (That’s a good line. Make a good Bumpah Stickah for my cah.)
So, I in addition to my 21 year friendship, I am also blessed with a new(ish) friendship. She is an incredible woman, the mom of one of Jason’s friends. And I am so clueless about how to be a friend. I missed that day of pre-school and I napped during that Mr. Rogers. But this lady makes me laugh and I love getting to know her. She is an amazing survivor too. We can each say a sentence about how we are feeling on a given day. No one else in my life gets it from the inside out. They don’t have to, and I wouldn’t want them to. They just don’t understand what I go through, because of my stroke. But she does. We can support each other with so few words. It is amazing, and relaxing. I breathe deep around her. I hope she feels the same.
I spend a lot of time trying to be “normal,” just like everybody else. I try to forget my stroke stuff. It never works. I can’t forget myself anymore. With this superhero- survivor friend, being myself IS normal. She gets the fatigue, lethargy, and anxiety of what some call “invisible illness.” We both look normal. Hell, we both look good. But we have stuff going on that most don’t get. Knowing that she understands is a gift. I am gentle with her (even though I know she is supah-strong). Gentle is not normally in my skill set. Bull-on Truth Serum-in a China shop, is probably a more realistic description. But with her, I am gentle by nature. I see what others don’t and know that her daily reality can be rough. In doing so, I am reminded to be gentle with myself.
Our son’s hit it off and then we seemed to as well. I think she kind of likes me too. Who knew? We had a chance to have a play date for just us last week, without our kids. Yikes. What would we do or talk about? I didn’t think too long about it. I just dove in and went for coffee. Coffee makes friends. Well, coffee makes me able to talk to my friends better. Ha! I made a point of mentioning that it was the first time we were hanging out without “the boys.”
And there it was. For me, it meant that we were there to be with each other. We were friends. I had outed myself that I care. We matter to each other beyond our kids’ relationship. That was a very cool moment. It is so much fun to put myself out there a bit and get to know her. What a blessing in my life and my summer.
Along with this communicating thing, I got going on, I am also on a clearing out and organizing bender at home. I tackle this cleaning house thing, every summer. I can be a pack rat. I won’t call myself a hoarder, but there is a tendency towards accumulating “stuff.” So, every summer I make a big list of big jobs and little ones that will make space in our home for the new school year. Jason’s room was particularly big and extensive part of the list this summer. The kid has “stuff.” I mean, lots and lots of “stuff.” And yet, there are so many times that this child comes to me, or Tim and says that he has nothing to play with. He has nothing to do, as he sees it.
These words ringing in my head, set in motion the big-room-redo. We cleared out, sorted and organized stuff. We moved furniture. But this only child, (me, not him) needed more. The room needed a focus. And Jason loves Harry Potter. So we set forth on that path. And I went hurtling down the path. I admit, I get fixated on something and I get really into it. (This particular project gets me. Shouldn’t a kid love their room? And shouldn’t they feel safe and yet inspired in their room?) I moved in my Dad’s chess board to grace the castle walls of his room. The pale green picture frames of his “nursery” are now bronzed and filled with his artwork. And it’s really good stuff. Seriously, and to brag a bit, the kid is good.
Tim and Jason gave me the go ahead to make one wall into a stone and wood looking wall, according to the castle in their books and my mind. And I got started. I had a vision in my mind’s eye, but the “mens” don’t have access to that. They would have to believe that it would end up looking great. Progress was slow. Materials were out of stock. They had to be reordered. Some were not even being made anymore. The vision had to change. Jason had camp. And then the Cuzzin came, and the room progress hit the pause button.
With the 2 legged Cuzzin came our 4 legged Cuzzin. Zev is the biggest greyhound you ever saw. He is jet black in color and built to run, (or at least look like he could.) They are quite a striking twosome. My cuzzin is about 5’1″ and she definitely makes the greyhound appear larger by comparison. I guess the same goes for me and Gus. I am 5’6″ and my Goddog is only a foot or so tall. My height might make him look wider by comparison. You know I mean this with all due love and reverence to Gus.
Anyway, Cuzzin and Jason bunked together for a week. (Thus progress on the Harry Potter Castlesque bedroom was delayed. I did do quite a bit of the wall, in the evenings after supper. I couldn’t help myself. And my family understood that I had to do it. After the Cuzzins left this week, Jason and I wrapped up the bits and bobs that were left to do. We played music loud to fill the now emptier room, after they left. We busied ourselves with finishing the room to take our minds off missing our cuzzins. And the room came together and we all love it. Jason himself is putting things away properly. He even reads everyday in his armchair, in the reading nook, under the loft bed. I know it is only a few days, but this is good stuff. )
So Cuzzin had brought what she thought was the twin sized inflatable bed but turned out to be the queen sized bed. It covered most of the available floor, but worked great for both 2 and 4 legged cuzzin. Meant to be. She brought a dog bed for Zev, but Gus was the only one who used it this trip.
Too cute. Jason has never had to share his room, except with his cat, Rondo. So I wondered how it would go. Honestly, I worried about how it would go. I began to fear the worst. (That is my nature too.)
Brilliantly is the answer to that question. Jason loved having a roommate and I think the Cuzzin did too. They chatted together secretively, shared stories only they knew, hugged and hung out there without the rest of us.
And I wondered for Gus. He was used to being an only dog. He enjoyed going on walks last year around the hood, with his 4 legged cuzzin. But I knew this year he would be left out of our real hikes, not in his nature to exert that much. Would he be ok or become irritable with the greyhound? He was fine, of course. What about me on those hikes in the woods? I had to go and be a part of the fun. I need the exercise. But I can’t breathe well, my nose runs and if we go too far, I get wicked fatigue that no one understands. Guess what? I told my cousin I wanted to go on the walk, but I had my limits. I took wads of tissues and used ‘em when I couldn’t breathe. And guess what? Jason was the one most tuckered out by the walks. He sat down on a rock and requested that we turn back. Ha! We didn’t. We get going and it was great. The next day, Jason stayed home with Tim. Cuzzin and I had a great walk just the two, or three of us. And afterwards she treated me to a Coffee Coolatta with Whipped Cream: quality cuzzin time rocks. (Dunkin Donuts is few and far between in Tennessee, so Cuzzin had to make the most of the Coolatta up here.)
Last year Rondo spent the entire visit in the attic. I had thought he would play with the greyhound, maybe even try to ride him like a jockey. But he was apparently scared and retreated above. Ciro was not afraid and held his own with no issue. This year what would happen? Guess what, Rondo changed. He was a bit skittish, but turned fear to curiosity pretty quick. Who knew? Everyday we all met in the kitchen. We each put our two cents in about what we wanted to do that day. And we each joined in as we pleased. Everyone got to do what they wanted. Ciro oversaw the daily planning times on top of the butcher block. Our kitchen and Ciro purred with the activity. Cuzzin said that our house was “joyful chaos.” That is one for the “good memory department.”
And so the week went as it should. It all went so much better than I imagined. It all went the way it was supposed to, I believe, even with all of us involved. I have said before that my default setting is isolation. But my heart lives when I am with others. My “good memory department” was filled and now gets filled with sights sounds and smells of times like the week we had with the Cuzzins. Everyday I am blessed with a home filled with my two and four legged beloveds. What a gift. What I have everyday is beyond my wildest dreams of 13 years ago. And still, I have dreamed of and craved and wanted more.
My heart knew it would work adding the cuzzins in for a time, but my head was negative-Nelly. I was worried. I talked to my teacher/godmother about my stupid fears. I opened my mouth and told her. She listened and answered and helped. She told me how all year I talk about my Cuzzin and miss her. Here with me, she would be for a week. I was getting what I wanted. Enjoy.
And I did just that. I was worried that 2 dogs, 2 cats and 4 humans (3 of which are only children) would become a volcanic ruin of angst and impatience. My mom downstairs, makes 5 humans, and one more only child, to the mix. I was scared. I was getting what I wanted, but could I handle it? I wanted to be near my family, but would they want to be near me? Would we all be too much for each other?
As usual, my questions are ridiculous and impossible. I can’t think for others, as much as I try. I can’t predict or control the future, as much as I think I can. My angel, Jennifer is right again and her words echo in my mind. “I am just not that important. It is not all about me.” Thank God. This time, however, my practices were heart felt. I owned my behavior and feelings and let others do the same. Not perfect, just ask my family. But better.
I set out of with the unspoken, slightly unknown to me until now, intention of creating something for the “good Memory Department,” that Gramma Harriet taught me about. I wanted memories for me, for my Cuzzins, Tim and most of all for Jason.
I didn’t want to miss the chance. I know through experience, my stroke has taught me, not to assume that there is a next time or a tomorrow guaranteed. My stroke teaches me to make the most of today. So if I say I want family and it is important to me, I better make room for it in my life. I better enjoy it today. Why not? I don’t need the threat of any future disaster to get me to cooperate with joy today. I can spend time with my family like I imagine “normal people” do or as I know I want to. I can do it today.
My Cuzzin and I were so close for a long time. We would redecorate our houses while on the phone with each other. We talked everyday. She was huge in my life for a long time. When Tim and Jason came along, my Cuzzin got new family. She loved them and they are close too, especially her roomie Jason. But we had less time one on one, very little in fact. Good, wonderful things were added, but there was a loss too. During this week, we got it back. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until we started writing country songs together. Well not really writing songs. More like this, my Cuzzin and I would say random comments about the day, our activity, each other and our dogs. The lines we spoke always came out like country music lyrics. It was all day, everyday, and we laughed. Before we had loved together and bonded over folk music and soul, but with Cuzzin’s move down south, country music is getting its nod. Music always has a sweet place in my family.
And sometimes, for me, the music just says more than I can say. It captures what is real and important and tells it when I have no words. I don’t understand how it works. I can’t predict when it will happen. I don’t need to. I am just grateful for the music in my life.
In high school, I fell in love with a folksinger song writer named Nancy Griffith. I thought of her then as being in the realm of country music as well as folk. She was fabulous. She wrote songs that got to my heart. I couldn’t believe that she could put words and beautiful music to what was in my heart. I loved that she covered the songs I grew up with. A “good memory department” moment for me was the folk music I heard in my childhood. Its roots are deep and they are my roots: the music of the working people, telling of everyday strife and triumph. Grit! I loved it. Pete Seeger in particular. I saw him in concert with my Dad. I was happy when the music played. Peter, Paul and Mary too, Bob Dylan and others put music and words to a tumultuous time. And while I often had nothing to say to my family and we mutually disagreed on just about everything, music brought us together. Certain songs made us all smile, for no reason. In my teen years, when little made me happy, I found Nancy Griffith or she found me. And this week, she finds me again. Her little of bit of country-lots of soul and folk vibe comforts me. Like writing country songs with my Cuzzin, the music makes me smile. It grounds me. I am centered by her song. I am reminded of how much I have and how great life is.
One of the songs she covered was an unforgettable, powerful oldie, but definite goodie: Wimoweh.
I have known this song for as long as I have memory. What is it about this song? As a child, it made me stop and smile. In the minutes of that song, strife and worry were put aside and we were together and happy. United. That song created a moment of joy as we moved to the song and were moved by the notes. IT is no different now. I can choose to play a moment of joy if I turn off fear and face love. I can take the moment in my home of “joyful chaos,” celebrate it and make space for more music. I can do that. It is my choice today. I am happy in the life I have chosen.