Do you see the little splootch in the middle of this picture?
That splootch is the universe telling me to get my head out of my ass and stop leaving my valuable and much-appreciated electronics on the counter where I am making banana bread. The universe is thoughtful that way. I was done making the banana bread, except for sprinkling pecans on top, so I totally listened. I am like the universe’s hapless child, toddling around, getting into trouble, hearing the warnings and NEVER LEARNING.
Well, sometimes I learn. I have learned that not all the bad things that happen in life are really bad things at all. Some of the best things that have happened to me seemed bad at first. Getting laid off was pretty bad, until my time was urgently needed elsewhere. Along with hosting two lovely and important family gatherings in December, I was able to spend several days with my husband’s cousin Katie. Katie, you need to know, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with honors last May. She aced her Genetics final despite a throbbing headache that turned out to be a fist-sized tumor. She had surgery, chemo and radiation and was absolutely valiant through it all despite developing seizures, gradually losing her speech and balance, and having trouble swallowing. They finally found a drug that shrunk the spreading tumors, but it was too late. She turned twenty-three last month and died last week. We are celebrating her life this Saturday, a beautiful life filled with love, laughter, travel, music, books and a very strong sense of self. A beautiful life lived well, but much too short. I don’t speculate on the whys of this. I, and everyone who knew her, just miss her and grieve that we won’t be able to watch her life unfold. Losing Katie was a bad thing to happen. But losing my job and being able to spend precious hours with her was a gift for which I am grateful. So on behalf of the universe I would like to encourage you to love others, you don’t know how long you have them. Love yourself, for you are loved. Don’t despair; bad stuff happens but good things come along too. And keep watching and listening for what the universe has to tell you.