Friday, August 26, 2016

     When I was a kid, and I didn’t want to eat my spinach, my mother used to say, “There are starving children in China, eat!” When I was naughty, I was sent to my room. My father said, “Come out when you can behave like a big girl.” When I complained that I couldn’t do something all my friends got to do, my parents would say, “Fine. Go live with them. While you’re under this roof, you follow our rules.” When I was instructed to perform my latest piano piece to impress my parents’ friends, my father would say, “Play the showiest one—-something really fast.”

     Those words shaped my life. I always wondered what starving Chinese children looked like. The ones I see buying Prada and Gucci at the mall don’t match the image. Behaving like a “big girl” has always been something I’ve tried to avoid, and although I’ve been a rule follower my whole life, it feels fab breaking them. I’ve discovered that the fast, showy pieces are not the ones that resonate with my audience. 

    This week has been challenging to say the least. When I’ve tried to gain perspective comparing my angst, frustration and sadness to those who truly deserve sympathy, the comparison has not humbled or healed; it has simply been that—an attempt to make myself feel better by looking at someone whose situation is worse. The reality, however, is that when we are in our own little “Poor me” bubble, no one else’s situation seems to translate. What helps is an “I get it” smile, and a kind word from a friend. It’s simple validation that says, “Yup. Been there. I get it, and I hurt for you. I got your back.”

     I was lucky enough to have two friends (a new one and a lifelong one) who gave me that gift this week. The new friend laughed with a twinkle in her eye that said, “Yup. I’d react that way too.” The other friend wrote and said, “You just temporarily ran out of gas.” This is what friends do. They feel your pain and pour baby powder on it. Love you two!  I got a premium fill-up, and I’m good to go. 

P.S.  In case you aren’t lucky enough to have friends like this, here is second best.

Nature heals. All we have to do is watch.