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Accepting What Is

I’ve been away from this blog for a while.  My well hath run dry because I have been spending my precious energy in a futile fight, scratching and clawing and yelling and throwing tantrums (and a bottle of Jergin’s lotion down a flight of stairs) refusing to accept what is: that my usually-favorite month of the year has totally sucked.

I’ve been peering outside with my bad attitude, glaring at the sky, obsessively comparing temperatures in Minneapolis with those across the county, waiting for the sky to open to reveal the blue, blue October sky so I can enjoy the illumination of changing leaves in the midst of autumn’s reverie.

Last night I finally had a breakthrough and accepted the “what is” of October, 2009.  Paul and I were meeting our friends to see the showing of “Race Across the Sky” at Block E and decided to ride bikes.  From past experience, I knew a bike ride could help to alleviate the weather-induced depression I so hate about living in Minnesota.

Even though you couldn’t have called me “gung ho” about the whole deal, I bundled up ridiculously, and we rode our cruiser bikes downtown.  Just what the doctor ordered.  In fact, in my winter windstopper jacket, I was overjoyed to realize that I was actually warmer riding my bike last night than I was most nights this summer.

So now that my well is filling up again, I can afford to spill a little of its contents into my blog and share this experience of futile resistance.  It reminds me of the beginning of the serenity prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Imagine!  Instead of putting up resistance and fighting and wasting my energy waiting for the weather to change so I could resume the life I had planned for October, I could have pulled up my silk long underwear with grace and walked outside and enjoyed the entire month, cold air on my toasty cheeks, a big fat smile on my face.

It also reminds me of my friend and neighbor, Mr. Vernell, who Lucy, Oliver, and I see walking by every day, no matter the weather, his head held high up in the air, the upward arc of his contentment across his face.

I met Mr. Vernell this spring.  I was driving with Oliver and Lucy one morning on our way to a playdate when I saw a man walking, his arms swaying by his sides, along Theo Wirth Parkway.  About an hour or so later when we were driving back home, I saw him again, walking just as briskly, the opposite way.  When I saw him the next day, I called out to him, “Hi!  Were you walking along the parkway yesterday?”  His eyebrows lifted, his smile widened, “Well yes I was!  I walk five miles a day!  I’m sixty five and have never taken any medication. I don’t eat perfectly, but I walk every single day and I feel great!”  Clearly.

I introduced myself and he shook my hand vigorously.  Then together we extolled the virtues of long walks, for mental, emotional, and physical health.  He is a daily inspiration for me, because, though I share his love for walking and being outside, I can become a victim of the Bad Weather Blues that don’t seem to phase him in the least.

That day, as he waltzed away, arms swinging, he turned back to me, broad smile, and said, “Life is what you make it!  Life is what you make it.”

I swear I saw a halo above his head.

Well, lesson learned (for now), and it’s better late than never.  I have one week left to honor this October, the coldest on record, and I’m not going to waste another minute of it, even as I see the snow furiously pelting the face of commuters riding by outside this coffee shop.

Janna Brayman Krawczyk is a writer and a teacher.  She has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters in Teaching from Hamline University.  She has been writing in a journal for over half of her life and has finally accepted that life is not easy, yet our struggles and obstacles are what inspire insight and wisdom.  For this reason, she must write as a way to understand herself and her life, stay sane, and dream big dreams.  She feels blessed to share this healing and illuminating practice with as many people as possible in her lifetime…
  1. Hey Janna,

    Thanks for the much needed inspiration to just deal with this funky weather. I’m not sure I can get myself to your level of embracing it, but, then again, how can you not embrace “what is”. After all, it’s not budging. Well, I’ll think about it some more. At any rate,I found your blog quite nice. Thanks for stirring the pot.

  2. Hey lady – Thanks for Sat. How fun! I think the weather gods were watching out for you. And…what a great Monday – the sun peeped out – it felt so good. I hope you had a chance to soak it up.

  3. Hi Janna-
    I found your website from Itchy’s Facebook page. My curiosity led me here to meet you …..and what an immense pleasure it has been to get to know you through your writing! I, too, graduated from college with a degree in journalism (UW-Eau Claire) and find writing helps with my passion err….addiction which is capturing what I see and experience through my camera lens. I can sort peel away all that is unnecessary and become more decisive- to give strength to what is left behind.

    Please let Itchy know that I met you (he can tell you about me-his friend from GB) and that we (my husband, Tommy and kids) are heading out west in 2 weeks.



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