but today is different. i want to get this down quick, it's early in the morning. busy time for me, and for most everyone else too. getting the healthy lunch packed, cats fed, pouring coffee down my throat, getting my butt to the gym before the work day (sure fire stress buster-i'm back in the zone after a long hiatus). but today i wanted to make sure to get this one story down. this one thought.
yesterday while going through my morning paces (mentioned above) my brain was doing it's best to try to talk me out of going to the gym. i'm so glad i didn't listen. got to the gym, stowed away my bag, plugged into my ipod and got busy on the treadmill. as i was warming up i noticed larry, an old fella who's at the gym most every morning. health wise, larry's had some pretty close calls over the past couple of years. he keeps up with his exercise though. he and his wife. when i don't see him there for more than a few days in a row i get concerned that everything's okay with him.
this summer though, i haven't seen larry much. i've opted for outdoor exercise in the morning...walks in the woods, riding my bike, running, so i've been kind of scarce at the y. i'm back on track though and as usual, as i was climbing up on the treadmill yesterday i noticed larry, and of course i gave a wave and a smile. i didn't think too much of our exchange after that, just huffed and puffed my way through the first course of my workout. after 20 minutes i switched machines, again doing my best to talk myself through a few miles of running (without the benefit of a sunrise, the smell of the woods, the beauty all around me).
it was beauty of a different nature that took me by surprise as i made my way into mile two. as i saw larry approaching i disengaged my earplugs for a quick "hi larry, how're you today? it's good to see you!" this was his response back to me..."terri, i want you to know how much it means to me when you say hello to me every morning. it really makes my day. your bright smile, your energy...well, it really makes a difference to me in the morning. your friendliness and positive outlook really mean a lot to me and i wanted you to know that."
i'm not trying to engage my audience in loud applause, not writing this to give myself a hearty pat on the back. i will say though that i am a pretty positive person. almost annoyingly so. the reason i share this story is because i think it's important to remind ourselves of the affect we have on others without paying notice. it's funny how we don't even realize how a kind, heartfelt "hi, how are you" can be a real difference maker in someone's life, how our attitude - positive or otherwise might affect another. and furthermore, how infinitely important it is to pay mind to the fact that "an old fella at the gym" isn't just an old fella, but another heart, another soul to connect to if only with a simple smile and hello.
today is particularly significant with respect to what i'm speaking of. there was another instance, another person who touched my life in just such a way. a library patron with an enormous heart, a beautiful spirit, who really made a difference in my day whenever i saw her at the library. she always took the time to say hello, how are you doing my dear, how's your dad, your family, how's that grandson doing? through these casual exchanges we became friends - an unlikely friendship, her being in her seventies and me on the fun side of forty. in the course of our friendship, "my miss nancy bebarski" helped me through a very difficult time in my life.
my miss nancy moved away a couple of years ago. before she left we met for breakfast. one last time enjoying the company of one another. it was so hard to say goodbye that morning. actually, i don't think we even said it. we just hugged. a long hug. as i walked to my car i felt the tears come on, and before i drove off i sat and had a good cry. i think she did too. her car didn't leave the parking lot any quicker than mine did. we both knew that would be the last time we'd see each other.
my miss nancy bebarski is an angel in heaven now. i'll be attending her visitation later today, seeing her for the final time and wishing so much that i could hear her voice again, but feeling so blessed that i can still hear it in my mind. and i'll say to her, miss nancy? i just want you to know how much it meant to me to see you in the library. you always made my day. your beautiful smile. your gentle, caring way. your confidence in me. you really meant a lot to me, and i just wanted you to know that.
a lady. at my library. a relationship that began with a casual greeting but developing into so much more. you never know the impact your presence can make in the life of someone else. thank you larry. thanks miss nancy. you've "made" so many of my days.