A Fond Farewell
By Peggie Arvidson
A Fond Farewell
“Someone asked me, Aren’t you worried about the state of the world? I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help. There are wars – big and small – in many places, and that can cause us to lose our peace. Anxiety is the illness of our age. We worry about ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, and the state of the world. If we allow worry to fill our hearts, sooner or later we will get sick.”- Thich Nhat Hanh
As I write this, the world has more or less shut down to slow the growth of the Coronavirus. Student athletes who have prepared to play their hearts out won’t get their chance, moms and dads who don’t have health insurance and are working multiple jobs in the hopes that they can provide their kids a better life, are torn – because their kids won’t be in school for a while, and those of us who have cared for people with severely compromised immune systems are dealing with it all as best we can. And I opened my word processing tool to see that the above quote was just sitting there in one of those – unsaved shut down moments.
I truly have no idea when I saved this quote. The Universe is like that – the answer you didn’t know you were looking for shows up and you smile and nod.
Today I’m writing you my last column for the Old Town Crier.
It’s time, perhaps some of you may say it is long past time. I feel like a new voice is emerging that should be heard by you all, even though I’m so grateful for you for helping me find and hone my own voice. All I’ve ever wanted to do was write and here you and the wonderful Lani and Bob have let me write for so many years – my gratitude is hard to express.
You all have been with me as I started and shut down businesses. You’ve listened as I’ve worked through divorce and marriage strife. You have been along as I’ve said good-bye to two beloved pets and more recently as I’ve mourned the very deep loss of my Dad. You have listened as I searched for and found my birth family. You’ve patiently read along as I shared my “deep thoughts” and you’ve even argued with my assumptions about God and Spirit. You have made it possible for me to stay in the moment as I moved across the country twice and I’ve tried, inadequately, to let you know how deeply and profoundly I cherish you and this limited time we have on the planet.
Why am I leaving the Old Town Crier?
It’s comfortable. Which is a good thing of course. As I stretch myself into the second half of my life, I realize that the comfortable zone isn’t where I’m able to keep growing. To be a writer is a weird life because you are always open to other people, you listen in a different way than non-writers and you hope those people “get” you when they read what you’ve written.
You, my readers, have gotten me for so long and I love you for it. Now it’s time to keep growing and branch out into some scary (for me) waters when it comes to writing. There are more opportunities now (thanks in large part to you) to write for larger audiences and I’m scared and excited to take on the challenge. There are more places where I feel called to spread the words that help me deal with my own anxiety in the hope of helping more.
My life has changed in wonderful and beautiful ways that would never have been possible without you and I want you to know that you have the power to care for yourself. To address your own worldly and personal anxiety. There are people who will listen, who will hug you, who will encourage you and maybe even give you a pep talk if you need it.
I’m hoping that you’re reading this and you’re healthy. That you checked on those who needed you and those you need have checked on you. That you’re looking those you love in the eyes and telling them about your heart. That you’re working to be the healing that YOU need. Today I hope that whatever lesson needed to be learned in the time of the modern Pandemic (or as I like to think of it – Mother Nature showing us humans who is in charge) is wisdom gained for you.
My deep and abiding gratitude goes with you always. Thanks for listening.