Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Turn on the AC

It is almost May. And I just want to repost my heat fueled litany from last year. It's hot. It's hot every day and that's really boring. And it's hot at the same time our seasonal work life is ramping up for its grand finale, so the external pressures are mirroring the internal tensions and not every one is being her best self.

It's time to turn on the AC.

In Singapore we call it aircon, which sounds to me like some sort of aviation company for prisoners, but maybe that's appropriate. It's time for Aircon to take us away from the boiling temperatures and to keep us going for five little more weeks until we can wake up with lungs full of cool Northwest mornings.

In the meantime, we'll try to behave.

I'm behaving by celebrating these good folks. If you have a birthday coming up, it's possible I enrolled you in a button a month club. I'm not sure that's what you wanted, but it's going to be just great.

I'm also behaving by listening. It's not my gift. I'm really good at being a bad listener. I'm working on it, but I still end almost every social gathering dope slapping my forehead and lamenting, "Shoot! Did it again!" But I'm sincerely trying, and I have patient teachers willing to turn the AC on my hot air and patiently nudge me through more careful exchanges. This last week was full of moments where people needed to be heard, and I hope I carved out some space for that despite the fact we're all sweaty and nervous looking even though it's the weather and not our emotional states.

It's at this point every year that I holler, "Do-Over!" and wish for a speedy end to the miserable temperatures and the mistakes I've made and the time I've wasted and the frayed edges I've helped unravel.

But as a dear friend reminded me recently, every day is a do-over. Every blessed morning, whether that be one awash in cool Cascade breezes or stifling inter-Monsoon haze is a chance to listen a little more, behave a little better, and be proverbial Aircon to those around us. Sylvia Boorstein, a favorite author of mine, writes, "every single act we do has the potential of causing pain, and every single thing we do has consequences that echo way beyond what we can imagine. It doesn't mean we shouldn't act. It means we should act carefully. Everything matters." Knowing her work, I don't think Boorstein is trying to scare us into deliberating over decisions or thinking we're particularly important. I think she's just saying that whether you're gritting teeth through the last five weeks of a school year or lying without a to-do list in the grass under the family pear orchard, you're a force for good. For generous and gracious space. For aircon.

I can be content where I am and still dream a little...right?

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