Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Ordinary Makes Life Work

I woke up to the sound of pouring rain. I glanced out the window and could tell that none of my plans for today would work. Mentally, I revised my plans and tried to come up with something better. "Today," I thought to myself, "would be an excellent day to go to the nursing home to visit my friend."

Filled with a sense of renewed purpose, I managed to get myself up and ready. There is something about purpose that is so healing. I have very little of it in my life, so this felt good. However, I was supposed to meet someone just before that I was concerned would conflict with this. Luckily, it didn't.

When I got to the bus stop, I could see the bus was full. A few months ago, that would have completely scared me away, but today I was determined to do something meaningful, and not come home and complain about my life. So I got on. Or tried to - the bus driver refused to lower the ramp for me so I could get on the bus without hurting myself, which is a problem that has only developed recently. He said it was only for wheelchairs. I told him the transportation manager of Metro had told me it was for anyone with a disability, and assured him I would be contacting him if he refused me access. He let me on.

The woman I visit was sitting outside when I got there, which is unusual for her. I was so relieved I wouldn't have to go looking for her, which makes me anxious but I am willing to do it. Her face lit up when she saw me, as did mine when I saw her. We only had about 45 minutes before she had to leave for dinner, but I felt safe in those 45 minutes. I just felt safe, because I was in the company of someone who actually wanted to be with me. I relaxed, even if just for a few minutes, for the first time in days. It didn't matter what we talked about.

A 93 year old visiting Catholic priest came to give her Communion, which is something I have never witnessed before but found interesting. The content of the prayers... well, some of the prayers... were not that different from the prayers we say at the synagogue. The parts about loving each other and praying for one's health and happiness... not all that different. I couldn't get over how amazing it was that she could still do this at 93, and my friend clearly loved being around her, which was cool. 

I talked to the receptionist a bit and left for a bus I ended up having to wait way too long for, but such is life. I saw my friend Ryan when I got off the bus and Lillian when I got on the next , shorter bus home. I felt like part of a community when this happened.

These are small insights, small accomplishments, nothing notable or profound - except that it is.

Because every day you fight bone-crunching depression and anxiety to be able to go out and do something for someone else is a day you save yourself from a fate that is almost unbearable.

It wasn't a remarkable day if you compare it to most things. But it pulled me if only briefly out of ever-growing depression and anxiety episode, and for that, I am glad.

It was nearly a year ago - 10 months or so - when I started going here. At that time, I thought I could NEVER take the bus there. It took months to get used to going there. But today, I handled both the bus and the building with no problem.

I only hope and pray there will be other things I can learn do with as much ease in my life that I am convinced are impossible now.