Friday, February 18, 2011

Hope: It's Closer Than You Think

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it."

Okay, I’ve decided to just get over myself and this whole Social Security debacle so that I can move on with my life.  Sleepless may be excused now.  You keep stealing my covers.

Part of the reason for this is because I recently received an email from a widow who had just found my blog and was asking questions about how to connect with other widows (and you know what my response was...theWiddahood!).  Suddenly I realized how I had been on a trip to Bittertown all week and thought, “OMG.  That’s really not how I want to present myself and the rest of the widow community.  We’re not all angry, annoyed people who are out to up-end the entire widow-related Social Security system.”

Well, some of us are.  But still.  I’ve decided to be the bigger person.  Until I hear from them again and go into another blog tantrum.

It’s weird how something so random can make us lose faith in the world.  Up until that moment, I thought I was actually doing pretty well.  Usually February is my “Random Meltdown Month” but this year I have been feeling better than I have in awhile.  I started my slow decent into the abyss around the 9th, but somehow managed to bounce back before my therapist recommended I get put on medication.

Hey...I’ll take what I can get.

For some reason this afternoon, I started to think about how much the world has changed and how that makes it even harder for those of us who are just trying to get through the day.  I know I always joke about how I primarily get my news from “The View” but there’s a really good reason for that:  They’ll touch on some of the major issues and then buffer the bad news by complaining how you could see Lindsay Lohan’s boobs through her dress when she went to court.

Some may consider that news, some may not.  But throw it in between the crises in Egypt and the national deficit and it makes you feel a little bit better.

Every once in awhile I’ll start watching the local and national news and I can feel myself emotionally sinking.  For the people who are addicted to watching CNN...I applaud you for your courage.  If I watched that all of the time...I don’t think I would be able to get out of bed in the morning.  And then I would have to explain to my kids that I could no longer go on with a productive life because the Southeast corner of the country is on its way to extinction due to obesity and the price of toilet paper is going up.

What happened to being able to sit on your front porch and talk to you neighbors (if you like them)?  What happened to being able to accept help with a flat tire without wondering if the stranger was going to smack you over the head with the jack and throw you in the trunk?  What happened to just being able to take a walk alone in the evening without looking over your shoulder?

Well.  I’ll tell you.  That world has been replaced by one that would rather run you off the highway, rather than let you get in front of them.

I see so many comments on and on Facebook about how sad people are about the stories they read from other widows.  And I completely get that.  It makes me sad too.

But I will tell you...these widow communities are where I go to find hope.  Because all I have to see is one person make a comment about what a terrible day they’re having...and then all of the comments from strangers telling them to hang in there.  The second I put up that I’m having a problem...I’ll get 30 responses from people I’ve never met telling me that it’s going to be okay.  When I launched the website...I got so many emails from people, asking how they could help and never asking what they would get in return.

Make no mistake about it.  We are the hope.  We are the neighbors talking to each other.  We are the ones helping a stranger.  We are the people who will lift up a world of people we don’t even know.

So the next time I’m getting on the highway and someone lets me in, I’ll probably be thinking, “Huh.  I wonder if they’re a widow.”

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© Catherine Tidd 2011

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