Sunday Letter November 1st 2020
Last week after writing you I texted my friend Denise to see if she wanted to meet me in Oxford to take a hike. We met and took a trail through the woods and along the edge of the highway. As we walked we talked about our families.
At one point when we were about half way back, She said, "I have a lot to learn from you." in regard to a discussion we were having about parents. As we continued to walk this niggled at me, because I did not want to be that opinionated person who knows how you should do things, even if I was. It was not who I wanted to be. No one really knows what anyone else should be doing. Sometimes I think I do for a quick minute. But it passes.
We walked quietly along for a bit and then I said, " Actually ,I have a lot to learn from you?" She said How?
"Well ," I said , "You just get up and go. You don't let excuses hold you back. I always talk myself out of day trips, too long a drive, I'll be too tired. You don't make excuses, You go and enjoy."
She said sometimes she makes excuses, but we both knew, I had a lot to learn from her in that department. She has such spirit for driving wherever she feels like and staying connected to the people and things she is interested in. I love that and lots more about her.
And that's the way it is isn't it? None of us have it all figured out. We know somethings good and we flounder somewhere else. And if for one minute or one second I feel a little smug, I just have to enter into the next second or the next minute to come back to myself. I don't know everything I need to know and because of that I need the company of others. They teach me.
When she said , "I have a lot to learn from you." For one second I thought "Wow, do you?" The next second I was embarrassed because my common sense kicked in and I thought about all I did not know.
The truth is we have a lot to learn from each other.
Because we do.
I struggle to understand the world better. I struggle to understand myself better. Not so I can be smarter or better than "someone else" but so that I can be better, better than I am now.
It is what self reflection is for.
Years ago there was an article in the paper about a local woman who had been appointed as a judge. She had practiced as a lawyer in our community for years. In the article she said, and I loved this, that her father had always told her that she might be smarter than other people but that did not mean she was better. What good advice for a judge; what good advice us all.
I've noticed lots of self reflection in people this year. People are looking more closely at themselves. It will be interesting to see all the "year in reviews" as it comes to a close.
Over the last year I have come to understand and appreciate my ability to be alone, to be on my own. There is less socializing, less getting together and at the same time I have recognized the importance, value and the joy of others in a profound way.
Thank goodness for walks in the forest with my friend who teaches me just by being herself. I did get up and go to Halifax on my own yesterday (Yeh!).
Thanks to the people who share their wisdom and smarts online, in podcasts and in books. You might not be better than me but some of you sure are smarter and I am grateful you have been there, especially this year.
And thanks to you, who let me share my thoughts and who support my art, my business and my life. I mean it. You add so much to my life.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick