Saturday, February 24, 2007

Looking for the Pony

Last month, I posted about a run I was just grateful to have. It may have been the sun, or that I could actually put in some miles without pain, I'm not sure. I just know that those moments and experiences where gratitude is actually tangible, well I have to make something of them. And as I get older, I realize quite literally, the opportunities are everywhere.

Several years ago, I sat at the funeral of a phenomenal woman. I woman that, if everyone in the room would have been rated on how well they knew her on a scale from one to one hundred, I would have fallen somewhere between 5 and 10. However, had they measured with that same scale how much everyone in the room admired her, I would have broken the scale with the 100 mark appearing only as a faint spec. At the time, I don't think I even completly understood why I admired her so much. It's only lately, looking back with some more life under my belt, I can begin to see it. She was incredibly grateful.

She embodied the feeling and effortlessly made obvious to everyone around her that she was grateful for her life. She was grateful for her family, her husband and children. She was grateful for her beautiful home, her lime green Volkswagon Beetle and her diving certification. She was grateful for her dog, her dark-rimmed reading glasses and early morning tea. She spent most of her time with a smile on her face, an Ace up her sleeve and a joke in her pocket, in case someone might need it. She was completely who she was, flaws and all and yet, still able to put forth a rather contagious attitude, lacking almost all worry and panic.

She was most definitely, more so than I could be accused of at this point in my life, looking for the pony amongst a box of crap.

Sitting at her funeral, those years ago, I remember so many feelings flooding through me. Seeing how her family gathered together, seeing the pain in her husband's face and knowing the love they'd shared. And I found myself envious of this woman who'd lost her life thinking, selfishly, about how they were lucky to have that love; wondering, more selfishly, if I'd ever know it. That feeling, though, was mostly fear. And the fear came over me a little that day, as I began to cry. It was such a great loss. And not just to me, or the people in the room, but to the world. I wondered what logic this dreadful path had followed, trying so hard to make any sense of it. It was cancer that took her and though it won the war, it did not beat her. She lived every bit of life the way it ought to be lived. She used it. "She fought the good fight," her husband said at the service, and he would know best. I think that statement applied to her entire life. What I didn't know then is that it was a message to me, too. I know that now, of course. I've learned that now.

Many days, life can seem like a fight. We ought fight it well. And when you're presented with every little (or gigantic) box of crap along the way, dig and dig and dig through until you find the pony. I'm going to keep doing that, I'm going to keep being grateful for moments of sun and little runs around the neighborhood. I'm going to keep being grateful for the fluff in my hair on a particular day, and my neighbor that waves to me every afternoon. I'm going to keep being grateful for cards in the mail, the price of gas going down a cent and a good-fitting snorkel mask. There's no reason not to. And the ponies, once you commit to digging, are everywhere.

10 comments:

Sizzle said...

she sounds like a wonderful person- one we all should aspire to be like. i bet it makes her happy to know you remember her that way. :)

Bre said...

This is a be-a-u-tiful post, and a lovely way to remember someone obviously quite special!

Josh said...

Plant the box of shit. It makes for good fertilizer.

Sorry for your loss. Though you didn't know her well, she still sounds like a terrific woman.

justacoolcat said...

Beautiful. I like to tell myself my pony is at the top of the next hill.

Nicole said...

Beautiful post. It reminds me so much of mom - there were so many people at my mom's funeral - people I had never met but my mom somehow touched their lives. My mom was also a great fighter to the end. Your friend and my mom are both heroes.
Thank you for your post.

singleton said...

Wow! Your friend is still sharing, smiling...through your words... confetti for our souls. Your tribute to her is painfully beautiful....her gift to you is at the bottom of the box, keep looking for the pony!

Backofpack said...

Well said, and a worthy goal for life. How wonderful that one person could touch another's life in such a way.

You should share this post with her family.

Dawn said...

That's a great post! It reminds us that we can impact others in our lives, whether they are close to us or remain at a distance.

It's awesome that you recognized that trait in her.

Danielle said...

Such a nice sentiment and thought...where are the ponies? I always wanted one, mom and dad said no, even though grandpa said I could keep it in his barn!!

Celina said...

What a touching post. And, I'm going to have to file that "ponies" thing away--I could use that reminding sometimes (a lot of times). Thanks for sharing your story!