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Reflecting on Roses: Temper the Bad, Sad, Mad with Gobs of Glads

Updated: Feb 28

"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way." Walter Hagen, golfer


This morning I woke up thinking about – reflecting on, remembering, “roses” – uplifting moments, positive experiences  over the last week.  Catching, savoring, and sharing our rosey moments is good for us physically, psychologically, and even cognitively.  


These moments don’t even have to have happened to us personally. Witnessing (hearing about or seeing) uplifting moments can touch us - just as if we "smelled the rose" ourselves. Let's pause, take a breath, and try it out.




Here’s a rose of a story I heard today though it happened in August of 2008. The setting is a softball game being played in Ellensburg. It is Central Washington University versus Western Oregon University. It’s competitive, both teams aiming for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship.


Oregon senior player Sara Tucholsky stepped up to bat.  Sara was in a slump.  Out of 34 times at bat, she had only hit 4 times. First ball, a swing and a strike.  On the second ball, however, she connected perfectly, hit it out of the park.


Sara excitedly ran toward the bases, but she missed touching first base and went on to second.  The first base coach yelled for her to come back and touch first base. She did a pivot, something snapped.  She was in agony. She crawled back to first base and hunkered there in pain.


The coach was perplexed.  No one from her team could help or Sara would be called out. She could put in a pinch runner, but the referee said it would be a single base hit in that case.


And then an unfamiliar voice chimed in – “Excuse me, would it be okay if we carried her around and she touched each bag?'’ The voice belonged to Mallory Holtman, Central Washington First Base player. After a moment, the referee nodded in the affirmative.  Mallory and another teammate carried Sara around the infield, dipping for her to touch her toe on each base. 




Once the 100 or so person crowd understood what was happening all of them were on their feet applauding. (Later Mallory said it was only right, anyone would have done it, Sara deserved the homer.)


When I heard that story, I choked up, teared up.  Looked to see whatever happened to Mallory Holtman. She’s now Central’s women’s head softball coach, Mallory Holtman-Fletcher. I see her on their homepage. For the first time in my life, I feel myself wanting to donate money to Central. That’s the power of simply hearing about “the good.”


And there were more close-up rosey moments this week.  One happened when our eleven-year-old granddaughter, Anna, gave her own money as a tip to the owner of a small nut and sandwich shop in Cashmere, Almond Blossom. She heard that Tess, the owner, was working hard to make her business go.  After she tried a delicious sandwich, she became a champion - wanted to commit herself to the cause.  Anna not only left a tip, but also enthusiastically encouraged cars driving by to notice the Almond Blossom.






Another rose was when Sophia, our thirteen-year-old granddaughter sat with a four-year-old little boy who just fell off the park merry-go-round. “Want a hug?” she asked.

He nodded.  “Would you like to hear about a time when I fell?” He nodded.  Then Sophia walked him around the park trying other playground equipment until he was ready to get back on the merry-go-round.





And yesterday I had the opportunity to hear Abbie Gundersen, a volunteer, for a group called Only 7 Seconds, speak (in a lovely English accent). In 2018, Ethan Wall was unexpectedly bedridden with a sickness for nearly a month. During that time, friends and family didn’t reach out and check in on him. It led to loneliness and then depression. After a few weeks, his mom Kristin asked “How long does it take to send the text: ‘I care about you.’ or ‘How are you doing?’? How long does it take to dial a phone number and hit send?” Going out to the kitchen table, she timed it– only 7 seconds


Gundersen does things like write uplifting notes (along with her children) to leave on stones and sidewalks and windows…for strangers.  She spoke of a man she encountered who was brought to tears by receiving a simple caring message (He was considering doing away with himself. Loneliness, she reminded the group is a world epidemic and as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes per day according to the Surgeon General. Loneliness can kill, connection can heal is part of her message.) 


What made Abbie’s story even more impactful was that she had gotten involved with Only 7 Seconds as a positive way to deal with her own journey of grief after her father’s death. Abbie gave us all bracelets to remind ourselves that it really can be a small act of kindness that makes a big difference for others. (I loved the Only 7 Seconds website - it's a rose in itself - and it already is working for me to keep in mind that 7 seconds thing. Abbie's work, her story, her family provided a most lovely rose to remember. She and her husband, Tyler, a dentist, are off to help the folks of Guatemala tomorrow! I would love to see pics of that).




And…I was thinking of all the groups, the Baptists, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Methodists, the Catholics, the Kiwanians, The Rotarians, the Acute-Care workers, an Improvement Club, and various individuals who round up a crew of helpers to cook each week for the community.  All are focused on providing joy and connection to others, mostly people they don’t know… while taking a break from dealing with their own aches and pains and suffering.




When we hear these stories, catch them, hold images of them in our minds (take pictures), offer them to others, everyone has the opportunity to be uplifted. The rose ripples go on and on…


And these stories - these "roses," these "glads" open our hearts to compassion (it's not just about suffering), connect us to others, and temper the bad, the sad, mad, the lonelies which are part of life too, but don’t have to hog center stage.

 

One of our sons, as a little guy, tried to help us years ago when we were flopping around, floundering with things not going our way. He would take our hands and say, "Let's stop and smell the coffee."


Whatever - coffee, roses. It's all about where we put our attention. We can take charge. As my friend, Gene Sharratt, says - it's about intention. Stopping to smell, reflect on, remember (capture), savor the good...that's the kind of week I'm being intentional about, aiming for, looking forward to. And I’d like to hear about (see, smell, touch) your roses.


How might we journey together to the Good Life by reflecting on the “roses” in life?

 

And a note from my friend, Rita on the previous post – thank you, Rita!

I really liked this post! I hadn't heard about Rose, Thorn, Bud before but immediately put it to use. Not easy but so helpful!

 

To beat the bad, I try to turn to gratitude and if I'm in too big of a funk to get there, I start with appreciation--appreciation for anything, starting with one thing, usually something within my sight-line, for example, I appreciate the lamp on my desk, it's compact size, the navy blue shade and the way it contrasts with the orange curtain behind it. This often leads to the bigger feeling of gratitude.

 

 

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