Doing Well Here

Tis strange to think that I have been here for almost a month. Summer has always moved strangely for me. Every day seems long and labor intensive, only to suddenly find myself at the end of a week wondering how it snuck past me. In this month, I have painted an entire set (and not a simple color and a wash so please you), explored glorious places, and made connections with people whom I can only call it  blessing to know. Helena (formerly known as Lady Twin, but Helena suits her much better) and I were down by the waterfront this evening, chatting about books as the wind blew incessantly across the water. I knitted away happily as we talked and I could only languish in how happy I truly am right now. Not the happiness that is characteristic of  the circumstances of the moment, but rather truly well. True wellness is a strong desire of mine, something that comes from a well of joy that lives in the heart regardless of what life offers. There is a hymn called “It is Well With my Soul.” A song penned in the 1800’s by someone who had been hit with immense tragedy, the piece still captures the core of what I strive to achieve in the pursuit of this life. Particularly, the first verse:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,a
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

*a Often this lyric is “say” rather than “know,” but I rather appreciate this version.

Whether I be at peace as I was this evening, or frazzled by the various tasks thrown at me in a given day, or truly aching from pain that attacks me from past loss, I fight to maintain the wellness of my soul. It is days such as I have been having, surrounded by glorious natural beauty, engaging work, and genuine people that remind me why I have such joy. Such things I am blessed with, and I can never thank Him enough for those things. It is, indeed, well with my soul.

What To Do with a Bad Day

From the excellent children's book, Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. Truly one of my all-time favorites

From the excellent children’s book, Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. Truly one of my all-time favorites


We all have had such days. Now, granted, mine did not start poorly when I awoke. In sooth, it was only the very beginning, and the very end of my shift that caused my day to be so ultimately sour. To put it shortly, I spent my day making snow. While that may sound fun, the truth is that such work is not going to be on my list of future jobs. The job is cold, extremely damp, and trying to finagle the apparatus responsible for the snow dispersal is, I imagine, somewhat akin to wrestling an extremely cantankerous anaconda while attempting to trek across the world’s largest snow cone. The situation was enough to break down every barrier I carefully erect in order not to lose it while in public, and then top it off with near exhaustion. By the end of my shift, I was so razzed I nearly broke down in front of my coworkers. Yeah, Alexander, I totally understand.

Now, we all have terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days. Such is the way of life. However, I have determined that bad days can be salvaged by doing a couple of very important things. Try any one of them, and I can almost guarantee at least a small smile before the day is out.

-Crying (do it lots): Okay, I would not consider myself a constant crier, but I am a hypersensitive person who feels things pretty acutely. This means things can sometimes strike me sideways, and I know I am not the only one to have this facet to his or her nature. Ultimately, if I just allow myself a good solid cry-fest, I will feel immensely better. I hold that the same is true for more people than will admit to it. I always encourage a good, solid, snotty, cry, because then the stress is released in an outward way that allows one to move onward with more clarity.

– Shower: Seriously, are there many things better than a long hot shower after a crummy day? Or even a good day?

-Recognize the Stress, then Let Go: Part of my problem is that I want to be cooler than I am. This is not self-deprecation, it is merely a recognition of the fact that I react strongly to things. The problematic part is that I try to talk myself out of being upset…which often makes me more upset because I then feel ridiculous. If I can recognize my stress, allow myself to feel it WITHOUT guilt, then I can move on from it once I truly process the emotion. I know why I was miserable today, and the world did not fall apart because I was miserable, thus I have no reason to feel guilty for that feeling. Now, the event is over, and tomorrow is a new (and hopefully slightly better) adventure. Time to move onward and sluff off the yuck in favor for the usual anticipation for the day yet unlived.

– Do Something for Someone Else: The difficulty with terrible days is that they tend to encourage me towards self-pity. Screw that nonsense. I felt pathetic earlier, but that does not mean I am. What pity do I need or deserve? I am rich beyond all count in the things that mean more than any wealth. Though not materially wealthy, I know I have enough to share with someone who could use a good Christmas. So, off to buy an art set for a 13 year old boy whom I have not met, but did request such a thing for the holiday. A friend kindly supplied his other request (video games), but I knew I could pick a decent supply of artistic materials. Then, the dollar store for wrapping materials, and ta da!!!! How can you not feel better looking at such a nicely wrapped package for an artistic teenager?