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“I feel good.  I knew that I would!”  It’s probably not what James Brown had in mind when he penned the lyrics, but it is nice to have a day in which the dipstick for my mental health shows at the “normal range”, instead of seeping down below the “add” mark.  There have been more than a few recent days when the levels were depleted below the safe point.  Today was a welcome bright spot.

The day started out normally enough, with the sun shining bright, which is always a plus in my view.  I checked the obituaries in the paper and didn’t find my name there, so that was good.  Okay, that might have been yesterday, but the feeling of well-being carried over anyway.  The morning passed without any serious complications; no irate phone calls, no poison emails, just normal conversations with customers who were fairly docile. 

Early afternoon brought another bright spot, with a visit from Addison and her mom.  I’ve written before about Addison, whose mother cleans the windows at the music store.  As frequently happens with little girls, Addison has reached the age when she is ready for an education, so I don’t see her much anymore.  Today was a short day at school, so she wanted to come with Mom and visit while the windows were being sparkled up.  Turns out, the windows weren’t the only thing sparkled up by their visit.  As she came through the door, she called out, “I brought you a flower.”  It was really only a weed, but there aren’t many bouquets sold at the florists which would rival its beauty, as far as I’m concerned.  Even tonight, the little purple blooms have completely wilted and lost their charm, but the moment hasn’t lost any of its brilliance in my mind. 

Later in the afternoon, the beautiful weather drew me outside.  I had determined, as the day unfolded, that this would be the day that an old enemy was faced.  Many of you will remember that I had a cycling accident in late summer last year.  I have struggled to make myself throw a leg over the bicycle a few times since then, but my fears wouldn’t allow it.  The accident, with a head injury to go with other, more visible scars, has been one of the most frustrating episodes I can remember.  I still don’t recall what happened, and the lost hours, spent stumbling alone in the darkness, have left me with an unreasonable anxiety about riding again.  Today, I would face that fear.  In the splendor of the warm, clear afternoon, I pumped up the tires of the long-neglected bike, pulled on my helmet, and, sitting astride the scary contraption, pedaled my way down the street.  You think it was a small thing, but even now, my heart is pounding as I write.  It pounded this afternoon, too.  I even shook a little as I rode all of a mile.  As battles go, it is likely to go unreported.  No history books will recount it.  The day may come when I’ll even be a little ashamed that I had such a problem getting back on the bicycle.  Today though, I feel like I can beat any adversary.  I sucked it up and rode! 

After that rush of adrenaline, the afternoon settled into normalcy, or so I thought.  Until the girl and her father came in.  “I’d like to make a payment on my layaway,” the pretty teenager told me.  They’ve been in a few times over the last few months.  Just a few weeks ago, they had to ask me if I could give them a little extra time on the transaction, since the deadline was approaching and it was obvious they wouldn’t meet it.  They explained that their financial situation was deteriorating, due to a work slowdown.  I was happy to allow an extension and expected nothing more than a small payment today.  The young lady took out an envelope and pulled out her payment; one dollar bill after another, until the stack in front of me equaled what she had told me to expect.  I wrote out a receipt, complete with the balance still due, a sizable amount.  Then her dad, with a big grin, looked over at her and told me, “She doesn’t know it, but now, I’d like to pay off the rest.”  Her reaction was classic.  The mouth dropped open, the eyes opened wide, and in an instant, her grin matched her dad’s.  After the instrument was loaded in the car, she came back in, to stand behind me as I worked at the computer.  “I just want to thank you for everything,” the elated girl said.  I didn’t do anything for her, except to sell her a musical instrument she really desired to play.  She and her family had paid the whole price. But I wouldn’t trade the enjoyment at sharing her excitement for anything.  Some days, I love what I do!

The minor victory of successfully repairing the old washing machine tonight hardly merits a mention in the litany of bright spots.  And yet, it brings a feeling of accomplishment to my mind; the exclamation point to an emphatic statement of a day.  It was a day to fill the tank and to revel in feeling good.  I know that there are some who are muttering to themselves as they read this, “But, what of joy?  That’s not dependent of circumstances.  It doesn’t come from feelings.”  I don’t disagree.  I understand the difference.  But, just in case you haven’t noticed, I am human.  And, that means that I am an emotional being; subject to highs and lows; experiencing the full spectrum of feelings that come with changes in circumstances, physical condition, even environment.  The Creator made me this way.  Days like today are gifts from Him, just as the days that test our mettle are.  I am content.

Today, I experienced the enjoyment of a number of different things at work in my life.  There are things beyond the control of anyone, like the weather, which can lift the spirits.  The interaction of people who care about me and show it, as well as the joy of helping others, is something without which we cannot live.  Battles are fought and won.  Goals are reached, bringing a feeling of competence, fleeting though that may be.

On this day, all of these things merged to bring up the level on the dipstick.  It is now as close to the full mark as it has been for a little while.  I’m pretty sure that, unlike the one in my car, there is no caution to abstain from overfilling.  I’ll look for more of the same tomorrow, even if the sun doesn’t show its face.

I may even try to shine a little light in other lives.  It can’t hurt to spread this around…

“Good day sunshine.
I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about.
I feel good, in a special way.
I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.
Good day sunshine…”
(Paul McCartney~British songwriter/singer)

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
(Psalm 37:4)

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