Feeling impeded by life’s obstacles? Do it anyway
Updated: April 11, 2012 5:28PM
We met when I hit a perfect storm of life circumstances.
I clung to a bad relationship. Every weekday, I dragged into a grueling job, clocking in long hours with cutthroat personalities. Things went from bad to worse. They hired Aubrey from “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Jokes aside, the stress kept adding up, and then my brother was killed in an accident. Numb, I called and made an appointment with a therapist named Bonnie.
Anxious, I arrived at her home office, taking note of the closed-in porch. On top of a table was a miniature decorative village. An eclectic collection of art and books graced shelves and walls. It was a cheerful, welcoming hearth, just like her.
As a breeze lifted the curtain and a sunny day blazed through a window, I blinked and took stock.
Throughout our sessions she never coddled. She didn’t judge. She listened and offered bracing advice. Life is often difficult and unfair. She emphasized faith and spirituality, to squeeze the bitter from lemons and make lemonade ... to get moving again.
That was 24 years ago. Now retired and in her 80s, Bonnie survived Stage 4 ovarian cancer and a stroke. She lost her home and the love of her life. Still, whenever we have lunch, the twinkle remains in her eye. Despite hardships, she never is self-pitying. She laughs at my lame jokes. She is my Yoda, my North Star.
The last time I picked her up for lunch, she looked more frail. I ducked my head to hide my tears. I’m not sure how much longer she’ll have on the earth, and she’s precious to me. We enjoyed our Olive Garden soup-and-salad combo. The waitress talked us into decaf coffee and dessert. Bonnie described a new book she wanted to read, one on acquiring habits.
I told her about a difficult personal situation. She stirred her coffee and said, “Mother Teresa went ahead with her charitable work despite obstacles. Her philosophy was, ‘Do it anyway.’ ’’
I looked at her. “Well, I’m no Mother Teresa.” She smiled. “Cheryl. Do it anyway.”
Later, I found a quote by Mother Teresa, which is how Bonnie has lived her life: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”