Holiday 2007

Dear Friends

Every day when I walk my dog Sunny, I pass by an elderly woman's house. Since she is at the end of our dead-end street, there is no way to avoid her house. She is waiting for me almost every day, without fail. When we first moved in, I found her kind of charming -- I listened to her stories about the neighborhood, her children, her long-dead husband, their business together, etc. After several months, I began to get irritated and silently wished that she wouldn't be waiting there each day. I just wanted to get my dog walk over with and get back home. I had heard all her stories and now was hearing them for the second or third time. I didn't have time for this; I needed to get home to work.

I tried varying the time of the walk in hopes that I would miss her. No luck -- she must have been watching for me from her living room. Suddenly one day she stopped meeting me outside. About a week later, she came back out, and I could tell she was upset. She told me that her son was pressuring her to move into an assisted living facility because he didn't have time to ''deal'' with her any longer. Her heart was breaking.

At that moment I realized how incredibly selfish and shallow I had been acting. What were 10 minutes out of my day to give to this woman who had no other friends or anyone else to talk to? Her son had stopped listening to her stories long ago and she had no one else to tell them to. I commiserated with her about how scary all this must be and told her that no matter what happened I was sure her son wanted her to be well cared for and safe.

I rarely see her outside now. When we do see each other, it is from a distance and most often is just a quick wave. She has no more stories to tell me, no more inquiries about my life, and she doesn't want to pet Sunny much anymore. Is she going down hill because she knows what her future holds, or are the reasons I am seeing less and less of her the very reasons her son wants her to move into assisted living? I don't know. But I do know that now I long for her to be waiting in her front yard like she used to. I would love to hear her stories about when her kids were small and our neighborhood was filled with young children playing outside and to see her face light up as she remembers better times. I am ashamed of my previous attitude and impatience.

I have learned a life lesson the hard way -- at someone else's expense -- but I am grateful for this lesson. My wish for all of us this holiday season is that when we feel irritated or impatient with someone, we take a deep breath and relax. Our time and attention could be more valuable to someone else than we realize. We have the power to make a big difference to the folks around us. May we enjoy the season and give of ourselves in the little ways that count the most.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

Midsummer 2009

Early Summer 2009

Late Spring 2009

Spring 2009

Early Spring 2009

Winter 2008

Holiday 2008

Fall 2008

Late Summer 2008

Midsummer 2008

Early Summer 2008

Late Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Early Spring 2008

Winter 2007

Fall 2007

Late Summer 2007

Midsummer 2007

Early Summer 2007

Late Spring 2007

Spring 2007

Early Spring 2007

Winter 2006

Holiday 2006

Fall 2006

Late Summer 2006

Midsummer 2006

Early Summer 2006

Late Spring 2006

Spring 2006

Early Spring 2006

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