What’s it all about Alfi?

Why the old song/movie title?

Because I think it’s a great combo of an old expression and a modern meditative thought. And because it sort of explains the past week around here.

Drop back a few days and there I was, carrying two baskets of dirty laundry downstairs and feeling the weight of the world hanging round my neck like a dirty hippo. I dropped the baskets on the washer and gave in to an overwhelming urge to cry. My head dropped and my sorrowful self-pity party started. But before long a sense of something not quite right snuck in between the tears;  a scent of something just offbeat enough to make me suck up mid-snivel, open my eyes and discover my sad, sorry, soggy face bang up against my mom’s dirty laundry—Oh, Euuwhhhh….

The snivels gave over to chuckles as I recognised how childish I was behaving. Like when I was a kid and things weren’t going my way. I’d run to mom and bury my face against her pant leg and howl. Well, here I was, many years later, doing the same thing only this time she wasn’t wearing them. Besides, did I really have things so stressful I needed self-pity parties?

…Later that day, I received an email about a family member almost losing her life during the night when a fire gutted the home she was living in. Thick, choking, black smoke and searing flames forced her to jump from a second story window onto the concrete below. She was now lying in the hospital with nothing but her own painful body and shell-shocked mind. Every single possession of hers was charred into bits and ash.

That knocked me flat into my favorite broken-down-in-all-the-right-places armchair while I read the email out loud to the others. And as I sat there pushing my hands deep into the folds of a thick cheerful afghan, a gift from an old friend, I glanced up at a framed collage of photos of my son’s life,  from his birth to graduation. Him at five, standing on a high stool at the kitchen counter, licking peanut butter off the knife instead of spreading it, or the a close-up of his 12-year-old annoyed and oh-so-swollen face after discovering a new allergy (yes, I was one of those mothers who pulled out a camera first and a hug second). And as I sat there, feeling my home hug me, I tried to image it all as a smoldering pile of charred nothing. Hard to grasp.

So, do we consider it a dark blessing when someone else’s loss pushes us into seeing we have, but often forget about? I do know one thing—next time I want to have a snivelling self-pity party, I’m going to have a chocolate love fest instead. And I’ve got it all planned….

A nice deep pot of melted gooey chocolate  and one by one, I’ll take each self-pitying thought and drop it into the pot. When either the pot’s full or my head is empty, I’ll set it aside to solidify. Next comes the tasty part— I  gobble up the hunk of pure delight with its dark center. Then I wait until that sorry-mess is ready for final departure….

I’ll wave Aloha and yes, I’ll be wearing a smile.

How’s that for a plan ?

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