July 23: I lumbered down the hallway pushing a cart filled with my career. At the sound of eager footsteps, I turned to see a cherished young colleague running toward me. She and I had just exchanged farewells. “Is this dorky? Can I have a selfie?” Truly, the honor is mine.
July 24: In another epic transition, Kevin and I carried the last heavy boxes to the car just as buckets of rain emptied upon us. We fell into our seats, soaked through. As the rain crashed over our car and made puddles into fountains, on the left side of the road a huge golden sun admired its reflection in the mirrored street and just smiled.
July 25: A week ago, we held hands kneeling beneath the ballpark seats. Today, we shared a sandwich. My sleuthing delighted her; her incredulous text delighted me. We talked about things that could be true: reincarnation, bipartisanship, universal kindness. I asked her to call me in a year when she touches down on her first dream.
July 26: My friend guided his Boy Scout troop up a mountain in New Mexico and then stepped aside to talk by phone to his Mom. Leaning into the breathtaking view, he told her again how much he loved her. A few days later, they climbed a second peak, and he made a second phone call. He learned his Mom had died, the fast-moving cancer complete. As he absorbed this news, he gazed at the purple mountains, the blazing sunset and the cairn of stones holding a cross. He paused, in what he called a calm “selah” moment. Then later he pondered, “How can the worst day of my life also be the best day of my life?”
Psalm 66:4: “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. Selah!” Pause, the translator says, and calmly think about that.
July 27: Sometimes the best conversations happen in the driveway, just before one person gets out of the car and the other drives away. Sometimes you just roll down the windows, cut the engine, turn off the radio and take turns listening to each other. Listening to things that are important simply because they’re being said. And therefore worth being heard, acknowledged and eventually saluted. The topics didn’t matter. The mutual affection did.
July 28: I wore a pretty top and a bright necklace and a big, big smile. Tonight, fifty faces gathered in a Zoom gallery to offer words I couldn’t quite believe and love that I absolutely did, emphatically. This, they said, was me: a Natural Wonder of the World. And how lovely to know that, actually, all of us are so fearfully and wonderfully made.
July 28, part 2: To channel my post-party euphoria, Jeremiah cued the classic 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot for our evening treat. We had binged on Cary Grant films for over a month, and were ready at last for the breathy sweetness of Marilyn Monroe and a bit of crossdressing. When our screams of delight ricocheted around the living room, Kevin popped his head in. “Cary Grant,” we panted, as we watched a priceless comedic impersonation, “Tony Curtis sounds more like Cary Grant than Cary Grant!”
July 29: Today I tendered my badge, my keys and my laptop, but not before I received this lovely final note: “I was in conversations today about how everyone is still in such a wonderful mood as a result of that celebration of you last night — even as MEMORIES you inspire!” Then he added, “Joy begets joy. And we are hungry for it: expressive love. Sharing your life with us, and providing us the opportunity to celebrate it, has had substantial residual joy.” You, dear reader, share your life with others, and they share theirs with you. Celebrate them, and let them celebrate you. Joy begets joy.
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