Note the title - soppy stuff to follow so get out now if you're not into it!
Today I left the confines of my office building at lunchtime and wandered down to the mall. The atmosphere in Adelaide is electric at the moment with The Fringe upon us. Performers and buskers are everywhere, from crazy freak show acts, to singers, comedians and everything in between. I sat in the middle of the mall on a bench beside at least a dozen strangers and watched on with the sun beating down on my back. I had my notebook and a pen to do some work on my second book, but all I could think of was how lucky I felt.
Don't get me wrong, I don't usually go around like i've just stepped out of the Sound of Music, in fact most days i'm sarcastic and annoying, but today, for some reason, I could not shake the almost overwhelming sense of gratitude I felt. For a brief time everything seemed perfectly aligned and exactly as it should be. I couldn't help but wonder how the hell I got so lucky.I thought of how fortunate I am to be living in a place where I can sit freely on a bench in the middle of the day without fear or reservation. I felt thankful for the sun, the coffee I had in my hand and the fact that I had dressed this morning in whatever I felt like without any real worry (other than not scaring people). I felt thankful to have money to shop if I want to and a notebook to write whatever comes to mind. I felt thankful that i'd been afforded an education that has given me the skills to articulate my thoughts and put them on paper. And, so lucky that I have found an outlet to share that passion through publilcation of the work I love.
I watched a family who were laughing at a passing Fringe act of a man in a suit with no
head and his strange looking offsider (see hopeless blurry pic attached). It made me think of my own three kids and how much I missed the days that we used to spend together before they went off to school. They weren't always easy times, but they were perfectly imperfect. I recently came across a family through social media that is fighting a battle I could never imagine. They're raising money to take their 12 year old daughter to Germany for a final go at possible life saving cancer treatment. Reading their story made me want to grab my kids and never let them go. Although i've never been a terribly religious person, i've found myself praying for that little girl every night as well as all of the other famillies going through something similar. I've wondered time and again if it would do any good, but in these situations, sometimes we just need to contribute something, even if it's only our thoughts. Tragedy is never too far from any of us, I know i've had my fair share, but in that moment on that bench in the mall, surrounded by strangers, noise and footsteps, I'd never felt so connected.
Sometimes it is as if clarity strikes at the oddest of moments and despite all the hardships, sadness and undeniably awful things that this world can sometimes throw at us, I am still eternally grateful for the opportunity to sit in the sun, breathe in fresh air and feel the arms of my children around my neck. I know that these gifts are not afforded to everyone.
On my walk back to work I thought of all of the people who have supported me in my life. Some who are still by my side and some that have taken their own path that ultimately led them away form me. There are also those that i've lost, but each and every one of them has left an imprint. To all of you that have ever encouraged, listened, read my stories, lied to me about how good they were to save my feelings and even just been there in the times i've fallen apart, you have my eternal gratitude.
Tomorrow, i'll probably be cranky and cynical again, but for that brief hour on that bench, everything was exactly as it should be and I could not be more thankful for the 38 years I have been blessed with. I hope that the next 38 and beyond are filled with as much and more.