There’s a lightning bug outside my bedroom window. At first, I thought it was my headache, or even my imagination as I lay awake worrying about things I can’t control but somehow seem determined to try.
I honestly didn’t know they could come up this high. They always struck me as more down-to-earth, flitting about among the grass blades or in my lavender or amidst the tree trunks of the forest first floor.
But there, against a black sky and a waxing moon; there, on the other side of my writing desk, separated from me by only the gilded curtains of Vlore fame gifted to me recently; there, distracting my thoughts from money and time and questions of purpose—there it was.
Wink. . . . Wink. . . . It had my full attention.
After several moments of complete darkness, however, I abandon my worries and the false attempt at rest. I get up. I try to be quiet as I look for my pen and paper, but my clenched jaw only makes my headache worse. And every noise seems magnified.
I sit still for a long time watching for the lightning bug.
It seems perfectly natural to be sitting at my writing desk in the dark, and for a moment I wonder if I would sleep better laying my head down on the smooth, cool mahogany wood surface.
Wink. . . .
I can’t help but notice that while the momentary flash is beautiful and awe inspiring, it doesn’t offer much light and passes rather quickly.
My desk lamp got moved in my most recent decluttering frenzy, and I’ve been forced to test the lighting options of my cell phone. Much brighter and consistent than the lightning bug, the phone flashlight dulls the darkness of my room. However, the narrow focus of its beam makes it impossible to read or write.
So I’ve borrowed the bathroom mirror and discovered that if I position my cell phone just right, I can create an oval of light that illuminates my desk top perfectly with little refraction elsewhere. Whatever stray light remains glints off the gilded curtains and my clock so that I feel as if I’m surrounded by magic.
Then I do the only thing that ever seems to make sense—I write a letter.
Tonight, the letter is to someone new, someone I recently met who reminded me of something important, someone who will never receive the letter. I learned long ago that it’s the writing of the letter that the Universe cares about, not the sending. And I’m thankful for that because I’m not a brave person; I could never send the letter I wrote because it contained pieces of my mind, heart and soul.
I write the letter anyway because I’ve learned that putting my mind, heart and soul into a letter is like spending savings. You sacrifice and work hard to accumulate your savings—not for the accumulation, but for the opportunity to trade it for something rare and precious when it comes along. And when the opportunity is right, you end up richer for the expenditure.
So too with this letter.
It was a thank you letter to someone who showed me such admiration and attention that I remembered something important about myself—something I’d forgotten.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been admired, not for my abilities, but for my charm. It’s been awhile, quite frankly, since I’ve been able to be a woman—high heels, lipstick, dresses and smiles. Most of the time these days, I find myself in pants and flats and a controlled self expression ever pervasive as I navigate rules and regulations at work and home. But charm and femininity are worthy of admiration. I think about it and realize I have been admired for both occasionally throughout the past few years. It was the next point that was so rare and valuable.
I was admired for skills so subtle and natural but powerful that without much effort I could have moved mountains. And I was reminded that I was once considered an exceptional chief of staff, who often is more powerful when I join someone else’s dream instead of trying to push my own agenda.
Could it be that my loneliness has also been a misunderstood construct of a society that says the only way to success is alone?
Oh Gentle Penguin, you may think I’m daft, but everywhere I turn the cheers and chants are for entrepreneurs, people who pour themselves into something of their own making in hopes it makes a difference or at least a profit. Could that be a siren call?
Could it be that those who support another’s dream instead of just their own are also heroes and demigods because they believe and work hard to make those dreams come true?
I’m not talking about giving them a plaque or a closer parking spot or even a raise. What about giving them admiration and attention for the knowledge and heart they contribute?
I can tell you for certain, a little admiration and attention can go a long, long way.
I’m also not talking about giving up your own dream, but rather finding a way it fits with someone else’s dream—a way that brings both dreams closer, perhaps, to reality…like a mirror reflecting a focused beam across a writing desk instead of dimming the darkness slightly or momentarily.
The letter is finished…carefully sealed, addressed, and placed in my desk drawer. Maybe it will yet find it’s way to the recipient. We’ll see…