Tuesday, 15 July 2008

In no hurry

Today I had a moment that I am going to describe as an epiphany and it all started because I needed some thread for my sewing machine, which has been placed lovingly on the dining room table, dusted down and opened up for the first time in ages. OK, so I was only planning to make cushion covers but at least I was about to use my sewing skill.

I needed cream cotton for the job in hand and it says a lot about my sewing box that I had masses of black, several shades of red, several shades of pink and a few blues but no cream or white of any description. My sewing machine (a relic of around 30 years old, bought second-hand at least 20 years ago) is fussy. It won't sew with anything other than Gutermann and I only know of one place to buy it, a little craft shop in our local town so I set off to buy a reel.

DM said to me as I left home "can you buy some sugar" (feeding baby bees in bad weather is essential to the long-term good of the colony). So, I popped into the small grocery store in town for a bag.

There were two checkouts open, both with someone being served and both with one other customer waiting so I just picked one and queued. After a few minutes, I noticed that the other till had cleared all its customers and was standing empty, while the lady in front of me was still sorting out her money. Then I realised she was a very old lady and she was clearly struggling with either seeing her money or comprehending what money to hand to the cashier. She had the help of a uniformed nurse so didn't need any more help other than not to be hassled.

As she completed her transaction, she turned to me and apologised for keeping me waiting. I replied "don't worry, take as long as you like, I'm in no hurry".


I suddenly wanted to scoop the lady up in my arms, give her a hug and a quick dance around the checkout because I realised this was the first occasion in my adult life when I've been able to say those words and mean them.

Feel the grass grow. Learn to breathe.

My "old self", living at 100 miles an hour, would never have wished her any harm but would have been fretting about getting out of the shop as quickly as possible so I could get on with the 50 other things I needed to achieve today.

My GP, psychiatrist and now my psychologist have all told me (along with all of my friends and family) that I can't go on like that. That I must learn to live in the moment without worrying about what happens next.

So how many things have I achieved today? Only one important one. That it's OK to not be in a hurry.

I suppose deep down, I am worried that I will need to face up to the future soon but I don't need to allow that to stop me from learning about simple pleasure and about nurturing peace in my soul today.

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