This was a tough morning. My little Liam did not want to go to school. The sadness in his eyes tugged at my heart and made me catch my breath. Perhaps he was merely reflecting my own mix of emotions, because I too felt sad.
Just three weeks ago I found out that my childhood friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The knowledge of her diagnosis hit me hard. I sat with the information for days, unsure of what I can/could do for her from far away. Then, I fondly remembered when an overseas friend of mine sent me a care package after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was filled with items that provided quiet, gentle activity for myself and for my son. It was so thoughtful. And so, I borrowed this idea and created a care package. I included items that I found (and still find) to be comforting and helpful when traversing this embittered journey. However, to actually send the care package caused an unexpected internal struggle. To send it, meant that I was accepting the reality of her diagnosis, and that is something I haven’t felt ready to do. I don’t want to accept that my friend, who has been a part of my life as far back as my memory goes, will be traversing this difficult journey as I did only two short years ago. I don’t want her to go through the pain and fear of cancer. But, her journey is not about me, and how I am struggling with the knowledge of her diagnosis. This is about her. It is her fight, and it is her journey; and all that I can do is be there for her in any capacity that distance and time allows. And so I will be. And so, on this frosty sunlit morning, I made my way to the post office and accepted the reality of her impending fight.
I felt very restless after completing this task. My thoughts were jumbled, my body weary, and my emotions peaked. I strolled aimlessly past the village shops and found myself standing in front of Lit, the little espresso bar with the chalkboard sign – which initially inspired my Blog in the spring of 2016 – with another sign that cleverly read ‘Coffee … because being awake is hard‘. And today, being awake, being attentive, and being here in the moment was proving a challenge. So I paused…
I entered the espresso bar. I ordered a latte. I sat at the communal table near the sunlit windows. I took my first sip. I was met with rich, complex flavours that caressed my taste buds, evoking notes of earthy smokiness and delectable creaminess. It was divine. I felt centred. I felt balanced. I felt calm. Closing my eyes to the environment that surrounded me, I listened to the hushed conversations and gentle hum of the cooler. I felt the warmth of the sun basking my face. I felt comfort. I let my thoughts drift back to my childhood, to my dear friend. Snippets of memories. Snapshots in time. Laughter. I remember all the laughter we shared.
Blanketed in the mellow, warm colours of slate grey, bronzed [tin] ceilings, marble table tops, and natural woods I felt serene. I pulled out my kobo and began to read; allowing my disjointed thoughts to further dissolve and just be there, in the moment, trusting in fate and finding my inner balance.
But my daydreams eventually crept through. Spurred with momentum of the novel I was reading, I began to feel wanderlust. I began to feel restless. For as long as I can remember I would dream about travelling. I wanted to see the places I read about in books; experience the cultures; the foods; the architecture; the art. It has been five years since I have last travelled afar. And though I know a lot has happened in these past five years – pregnancy; the birth of my son; thyroid cancer; and breast cancer – I feel it has been far too long. Life is short. Life is delicate. Life is uncertain. But life is meant to be lived.
And so, while sitting there sipping my marvellous, complex latte, basking in the soothing atmosphere of Lit – the little espresso bar that spurs inspiration – I was hit with another divine realization. Life is for the living. It may be short. It may be delicate. It may even seem unfair. And nothing is ever certain in life. But one should be happy while investing in it. Invest in your life – chase joy – and find the means to accomplish what your heart desires. Do not be afraid to alter the path you have chosen. Just take courage and pursue happiness. Make it your priority.
So in this forthcoming year I will travel. I will invest in my happiness. I will invest in my life. Chasing joy. Chasing happiness. Laughing often. Because when I think back to my childhood – to my friend – what I remember most is sharing laughter. It is the most beautiful snapshot in time. See you soon dear friend. xo
Chasing Joy (no pun intended please). Published by Crystal Joy Hall