I'm a little shell-shocked tonight by the week I've had already, and I haven't even gotten to Friday's parade creative team or the meeting with Vancouver's mayor.
On Tuesday I was sitting in a Communications meeting with two other staff members and my cell phone rang. I would usually ignore it, but for some reason I answered. It was a board member who would usually call me on the office phone. I wished her Happy New Year and asked how she was doing. When she said "not so well," I asked her how her husband was; I knew he had surgery in early December. She said, "Actually, he died." Then I sat there with two people watching me talk to a heartbroken woman who had lost her great love, listening to her describe holding his hand at the end, trying to find the right words to say when she broke down about how afraid she is. "Marilyn, when everyone leaves, I'm going to be alone in this house!"
She's about my age and in the same business, well, the public relations part. And she's very cool. Her husband was 62.
Wednesday I had been through two meetings when Ashley told me my pal Gil, the Korean vet who's been one of the characters in my life (I'll write more about him in another post) was trying to reach me to invite me to City Council that very morning. (I admit I had avoided two of his calls.) It seems the Council was voting on one of our shared passions, renaming Portland's Memorial Coliseum the Veterans Memorial Coliseum
. We had 15 minutes to get there and it was pouring down rain, but Ashley and I took off for City Hall. And we got to sit there and listen to the testimony as the vets (including another great friend of mine who's a Vietnam vet) told their tales, and finally as the Council voted unanimously to make the change. It was an amazing moment.
So last night I dvr'd the Council session, then burned two dvds, one for Gil and one for my other friend. While I was doing that, I finally paid the bills that have been waiting two weeks.
Life's so full of moments. Important moments. And lots of less important ones in between. The key to getting it right is to pay attention. If I had missed that Council meeting because of ignoring Gil and Ashley hadn't had the guts to encourage me, I would have missed out. And if I hadn't answered my phone and listened patiently, I might have done more injury to an already bleeding heart.
It's not by accident these things happened this first week of 2011. And even though I feel pretty much overwhelmed by trying to keep up with life right now, I don't intend to let it leave me in the dust. Not even if I have to huff and puff a little along the way.