My writing has been full of woe, of late. Mostly, it has centered around the transitions resulting from my life’s challenges in a new town, a new apartment, a new job. Mostly it has focused on the bad and the sad and the not-quite-right.
If pressed, I would have to say I have only had two great days in the past four weeks: one when my Wonderful Friend arrived for an overnight, and another when RG Daughter and I floated in the ocean for hours. I don’t need to describe the other days; the painful minutes are posted in the archives of this blog.
Today could have gone either way–sad/bad or not-so-terrible. Not-so-terrible has been about as good as it gets, save for the above mentioned two great days. But today I slept in, I went out for a walk and ended up running a couple of miles, too, and that felt good. The landlord’s handymen, who will ultimately make cable work throughout my apartment, showed up an hour late, but at least they showed. No, they didn’t fix a damn thing today, but they promised to be back tomorrow morning to fix it all. And since I didn’t expect them to show at all, I considered this a positive part of today.
I caught up on office work that I had neglected for a week or more, I hooked up my printer on my own (I know, I am pathetic with the computer stuff), and I was somewhat astounded that by mid-afternoon, I actually felt…normal. I felt okay. Not great, but okay. I will most definitely take okay these days–every day, any day.
Which was when the email appeared in my inbox. At first, I thought it was a comment on my most recent post. Instead, it was a gift from the mother of an angel, and I now think she must be an angel on earth herself. She told me that she remembered the very first time she read my blog in April 2006, because that was the day her first born met the angels after an operation that couldn’t mend his heart. She met Restaurant Gal at 2:00 a.m. on that so very sad day, and she laughed, she said, when she read my words.
“Now, with all that you are going through,” she continued, “I can tell how strong you are and wanted to let you know that sometimes it felt like your site was the only thing that got me up in the morning. I know that sounds a little drastic, but it’s true. Your stories about the customers and the staff were the only thing that made me laugh on some days. So I wanted to say thank you! You are great at what you do and you are an excellent writer, please keep it up!”
I was dressed for work when I read this. I had already put on my makeup and everything. So I fought the tears the first time I read this email. I wholly and completely gave into the tears the next two times I read it.
She could have written me on any day in the past year or more. But she hadn’t. Instead, she wrote to me on this very day, the day after my own recent despair had lifted somewhat, on a day I was willing to concede might actually feel okay.
“This is why I write,” I confided to a friend in an email, when I wrote to him about this extraordinary reader and her email.
“This is not why you write,” he answered. “Writers write because you are compelled to write. You just cannot keep the words in. Reactions like this are why you are always becoming a better writer.”
And I continued to feel okay, even though I continued to cry, but now at his words.
“I have to share this with you,” I wrote to my cousin on the West Coast, whom I love and miss and wish I had seen more of over the past 20 years.
“That’s why you keep on keeping on,” she wrote back to me. “What a lovely woman. And your hardships are bringing out parts of you that other people can hang on to, identify with, look up to. I’m just so impressed.”
My own angel on this day said she was not looking for sympathy when she emailed me. I share this story on this day, not because I am looking for accolades, but to share my awe that this incredible message came to me on this day–when I would be most likely to read it, appreciate it, and hang on to it forever.
I may write because I am “compelled” to. But I continue to be astounded when I learn that my writing touches those beyond my realm. And I am so very humbled.