On Gaining Perspective from an Email

Posted on Thursday 16 August 2007

My writing has been full of woe, of late. Mostly, it has centered around the transitions resulting from my life’s challenges in a new town, a new apartment, a new job. Mostly it has focused on the bad and the sad and the not-quite-right.

If pressed, I would have to say I have only had two great days in the past four weeks: one when my Wonderful Friend arrived for an overnight, and another when RG Daughter and I floated in the ocean for hours. I don’t need to describe the other days; the painful minutes are posted in the archives of this blog.

Today could have gone either way–sad/bad or not-so-terrible. Not-so-terrible has been about as good as it gets, save for the above mentioned two great days. But today I slept in, I went out for a walk and ended up running a couple of miles, too, and that felt good. The landlord’s handymen, who will ultimately make cable work throughout my apartment, showed up an hour late, but at least they showed. No, they didn’t fix a damn thing today, but they promised to be back tomorrow morning to fix it all. And since I didn’t expect them to show at all, I considered this a positive part of today.

I caught up on office work that I had neglected for a week or more, I hooked up my printer on my own (I know, I am pathetic with the computer stuff), and I was somewhat astounded that by mid-afternoon, I actually felt…normal. I felt okay. Not great, but okay. I will most definitely take okay these days–every day, any day.

Which was when the email appeared in my inbox. At first, I thought it was a comment on my most recent post. Instead, it was a gift from the mother of an angel, and I now think she must be an angel on earth herself. She told me that she remembered the very first time she read my blog in April 2006, because that was the day her first born met the angels after an operation that couldn’t mend his heart. She met Restaurant Gal at 2:00 a.m. on that so very sad day, and she laughed, she said, when she read my words.

“Now, with all that you are going through,” she continued, “I can tell how strong you are and wanted to let you know that sometimes it felt like your site was the only thing that got me up in the morning. I know that sounds a little drastic, but it’s true. Your stories about the customers and the staff were the only thing that made me laugh on some days. So I wanted to say thank you! You are great at what you do and you are an excellent writer, please keep it up!”

I was dressed for work when I read this. I had already put on my makeup and everything. So I fought the tears the first time I read this email. I wholly and completely gave into the tears the next two times I read it.

She could have written me on any day in the past year or more. But she hadn’t. Instead, she wrote to me on this very day, the day after my own recent despair had lifted somewhat, on a day I was willing to concede might actually feel okay.

“This is why I write,” I confided to a friend in an email, when I wrote to him about this extraordinary reader and her email.

“This is not why you write,” he answered. “Writers write because you are compelled to write. You just cannot keep the words in. Reactions like this are why you are always becoming a better writer.”

And I continued to feel okay, even though I continued to cry, but now at his words.

“I have to share this with you,” I wrote to my cousin on the West Coast, whom I love and miss and wish I had seen more of over the past 20 years.

“That’s why you keep on keeping on,” she wrote back to me. “What a lovely woman. And your hardships are bringing out parts of you that other people can hang on to, identify with, look up to. I’m just so impressed.”

My own angel on this day said she was not looking for sympathy when she emailed me. I share this story on this day, not because I am looking for accolades, but to share my awe that this incredible message came to me on this day–when I would be most likely to read it, appreciate it, and hang on to it forever.

I may write because I am “compelled” to. But I continue to be astounded when I learn that my writing touches those beyond my realm. And I am so very humbled.

19 Comments for 'On Gaining Perspective from an Email'

  1.  
    voodoo76
    August 16, 2007 | 10:27 pm
     

    RG-
    I can’t tell you how sad I was 2 weeks ago as I sat in my office, between shifts, trying to get a quick turkey wrap and diet coke down before my dinner staff would start dinner service set-up and I finally caught up on your blod I had neglected since late May. As the clues to what was going on in your life came with each new post, my heart sank. I had to call my wife just to hear her voice. I could never imagine going through what your words were telling me you were going through. But, I admire your courage to start over and try to find your happiness again. As my late Mom once told me, it doesn’t matter what you do in life, as long as you have a smile on your face while you do it. Go find you smile again, RG…….

  2.  
    Restaurant Gal
    August 16, 2007 | 10:32 pm
     

    voodoo76–Welcome back! I am smiling, mostly. I am doing okay. I will get through this, even through my tears. Your mom was right..

  3.  
    August 16, 2007 | 11:06 pm
     

    Poignant, heart-warming, and refreshing. Just like you, RG! Just keep being yourself, and the kharmic rewards will roll in.

  4.  
    Restaurant Gal
    August 16, 2007 | 11:10 pm
     

    Ex-RM–You have a special place in my heart.

  5.  
    August 17, 2007 | 5:40 am
     

    In our own rooms of darkness, we often forget our significance. It does take angels to help us find the door out. Funny how they always appear when we need them the most.

  6.  
    Tinker
    August 17, 2007 | 7:15 am
     

    Today’s my Birthday, and it cheered me up immensely to hear you were doing better. I don’t know why somebody far away having a bad time, is so immediate, so just plain bad, but I suppose it MUST be the writing. I’ve never thought of myself as softhearted or kind, though it maybe that I am more concerned with my fellow man, after a series of strokes a couple of years ago. I had barely started to read your blog, when you announced a change of position. So I went “with” you to the new place, and you adapted. And again, I had just settled in, when you did it again! I imagined the stress level you must be feeling, and it was painful.

    So keep on keeping on, one foot in front of the other, you’ll reach the safe place you are looking for, eventually.

  7.  
    Julie
    August 17, 2007 | 7:55 am
     

    RG — As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t start the day without checking your blog. It’s like I’m checking on with a friend. Some days you make me laugh. Others, I cry. And when things are difficult, I know you’ll get through it because your strength shows in your entries.

    P.S. I hope the handymen actually show up and fix things today. That would be so wonderful.

  8.  
    August 17, 2007 | 9:47 am
     

    Namaste–Welcome! Yes, angels appear when you least expect it, and just when you need them the most. Know, also, that I continue to be captivated by your writing.

    Tinker–Happy birthday! And thanks for staying with me.

    Julie–I would worry about you if you didn’t chime in. Let me know if you go on vacation, okay? And believe it or not, the handymen are knocking on my door as we speak!

  9.  
    ckasten
    August 17, 2007 | 10:11 am
     

    Restaurant Gal,
    Thank you!

  10.  
    August 17, 2007 | 11:00 am
     

    And now I’ve cried, too. What a lovely gift, that email.

  11.  
    August 17, 2007 | 11:18 am
     

    Hi RG,
    I had myself a oh-so-terrrrrrribbbblllleeeeee day yesterday when my computer apparently crashed or something, who knows…

  12.  
    Kris
    August 17, 2007 | 11:52 am
     

    I was just talking with a customer about this last night. Every single thing we do sends ripples out to God only knows where and/or who. Every action is like when we toss a pebble in a pond. We forget it, too often, but when we are reminded in such an astonishingly perfectly timed way, we remember that there are gifts and angels everywhere.

    You are in my thoughts, as is your email angel.

  13.  
    August 17, 2007 | 12:32 pm
     

    you just carry on being you and we’ll carry on enjoying your writings.

    Ha! I was just beginning to write here when I noticed I’ve notified that you’ve commented on my blog – this isn’t the 1st time it’s happpened ๐Ÿ™‚

  14.  
    August 17, 2007 | 1:23 pm
     

    Just KNOW how much you touch us all. I’m glad you had the 2 great days – the number of good days will increase – karma’s like that.

  15.  
    August 18, 2007 | 12:22 am
     

    ckasten–Thank you, so very much.

    Sharon–A rare gift, indeed.

    Gwen–It’ll get fixed, I know it!

    Kris–I continue to marvel at the timing of this, and so much in my life.

    Kim–We clearly have a link to each other. Your latest post seemed to speak of me, just as your blog always speaks to me.

    Jali–Some day we will meet, laugh, talk, laugh, and just have a great time. And that will also be a great day.

  16.  
    August 18, 2007 | 12:33 pm
     

    Strength comes in many different shapes and sizes. It’s great to hear you have so much coming your way.

  17.  
    August 18, 2007 | 11:25 pm
     

    Beautifully written… ๐Ÿ™‚

  18.  
    Kate
    August 19, 2007 | 9:27 am
     

    Writing is definitely a way of touching other people, and you write beautifully. And I can see I’m not alone in having your blog be one of the ones I look to for inspiration every day! (I super miss El Guapo, so I am reading yours 3X as much as usual at the moment. Sorry for the over-use. LOL. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  19.  
    August 20, 2007 | 12:03 pm
     

    That is lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ Writing enables us to see parts of ourselves in others and to be able to communicate that with strangers is just wonderful! I love reading your blog as you are funny, but also cause I’ve had some major life changes (not exactly on par, but partially) and I know what you are dealing with. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone.

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