A Touch of Grey

Talked with Julia tonight for about an hour.  It’s her birthday today, and her husband had to work.  I called her this morning to sing “Happy Birthday” to her, and by the time she called me back, I was in class.  So, I did what any good sister would do.  I cut out of class early tonight and came home to sit on my back porch and have a beer or two with her over the phone while we talked about childhood, life, and getting older.

Even though he had to work, my wonderful brother-in-law managed to surprise the wife to whom there is no surprise when she woke up this morning with a keyboard she’d been coveting and planned on buying for herself.  She just went downstairs to get a cup of coffee, and there it was.

She told me, “I can’t believe it, but I cried.  And you know I’m not a crier.”

I laughed because I’d just said the same thing to my class tonight before she called when we were talking about books that do a good job of showing two people falling in love.  I brought up one book and how I just bawled after reading it “and I’m not a crier.”

Truth is, I totally am a huge crybaby.  I just do a good job of hiding it behind my Swedish stoicism.

Her husband got her a very cool card, too.  There was a Ghandi quote on the card.  It’s the one about happiness…

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

It’s a good quote. It’s a nice thought – to think that everyone could live his or her life that way.  But it’s not that simple.

We think and say things that aren’t always in harmony with what we do. As social creatures, we’re conditioned to do just the opposite.  We do it to get along.

I rarely tell people what I’m thinking when I’m actually thinking it because, well, I have to work it out in my head and weigh out the way what I think will be taken before I share it.

I say things or don’t say things to keep from hurting the feelings of others or because it’s easier than dealing with the consequences of telling the truth.

I do what I have to do instead of what I choose to do sometimes because, even though it not what I believe or preach, it’s what I’m obligated to do.

Life is not black and white. I think we all live somewhere in the middle, in the grey.

And, in my experience, it’s the people who can’t find that middle ground who never seem to find happiness either.

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