Breathe in. Breathe out. It sounds easy enough. We don’t even think about it; it’s just something we do unconsciously, an inherent part of being alive. But sometimes I feel like I’ve breathed in too much and that I am drowning in air. That’s when I know that it’s time to stop and exhale.
Summer is supposed to be the most relaxing time of the year: lazy days at the beach, balmy nights, afternoon siestas … it sounds like the formula for a perfect season. But the heat saps by strength, the sun gives me headaches and the beaches and public places are over-crowded and noisy. Yes, I am being a moaner, and if I were still at school, I am sure that one of the nuns would tell me to count my blessings, because there are so many people who have so much more to worry about than such petty nuisances. I guess empathy was not their strongest point. Or maybe that was their way of toughening us up and preparing us for the real world. Because it’s true. My grievances are barely noticeable compared to what some people are going through.
And yet, aren’t we all just a little bit selfish and don’t we all think of ourselves and our close circle of family and friends before all others? Isn’t that the only way to keep sane in this world where we are constantly bombarded with horrific images of human suffering in all shapes and forms?
I really have no answers. I know that this blog and the ones I read on a regular basis help me escape to a whimsical world. They take me on flights of fancy to magical places. They help me stop and exhale. And, strangely enough, they give me the strength to face all the ugliness out there. Because if we had to focus on that all the time, we would surely go mad. But these online friends I have made have shown me that there is still beauty in this world. There is still kindness and compassion. Above all, they have taught me that there is hope. In this cruel, crazy world, there is still hope. Because, in spite of everything, or, maybe, because of it, hope is always the last to die.
My father in law’s beautiful roses (Canton, MO, July 2015)