Universe? Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?

Recently, Funk and I replaced an incredibly ugly coffee table with a more stylish piece from Anthropologie. Ever since we purchased it, he’s been stubbing his size 16 feet on the legs and howling like a little baby. And of course, every time he does, I fall into a heap of laughter on the floor.

One day not too long ago, I had my girlfriends over for lunch.

They’ve been hosting me ever since that most terrible thing happened the summer of 2020, so I went all out for them. I made one of my specialty dishes that takes days to prepare; set the table with my favorite 1940’s tablecloth and napkins; and cleaned the house until every corner shined. Just before they arrived, I lit candles and set the music to the playlist I’d made just for the occasion.

It was a day full of laughter and fun, but I was pooped by the time they left and finished putting the house back to rights.

Funk and I only watch one television show nightly, and man, was I looking forward to laying on the couch and having him rub my feet while we viewed the latest episode of Shrinking. With the dishwasher running and my teeth brushed for the evening, I was hurrying to lay down, and that’s when karma happened. My toe caught the leg of the stupid coffee table. I tried catching myself with my left hand, but it hit the corner of the table at weird angle and dislocated my middle finger, and unable to brace myself, down I went on my shoulder. Hard.

Other than a sprained ankle, I’ve never had an injury before.

The pain in my arm was so bad that I couldn’t do anything the first two weeks, not even type. That’s when darkness set in. It felt like the Universe had been piling on forever, starting with my sister’s unexpected passing in 2016, my brother’s in 2018, and my mother’s in 2019. Then Covid made its appearance February 2020, and the world went mad. But all those woes were nothing compared to madness that landed on my doorstep the summer of 2020. That horror is incomprehensible, and I can’t go there right now.

To me, it seems that a lot of folks feel the pandemic only happened to them.

As a society, we are more “connected” than ever and yet there is an epidemic of loneliness in our country. People are pent up beyond belief, and they’ve gotten really mean. But instead of doing the difficult inner work of creating a new iteration of a beautiful life for themselves, they’ve chosen to live in victim-mode, blaming others for their unsatisfying lives. Some have even joined the worldwide trend of estranging from loved ones, instead of getting in the mud with them to work things out. It’s cowardly lunacy.

I’ve been fighting hard to not feel like a victim myself.

Ever since the summer of 2020, I’ve been lost in a deep, confusing grief, and have been working non-stop to put the pieces of myself back together. However, in dealing with the emotional side of me, my physical health has suffered. I’ve regained 50 hard-lost pounds, started drinking whiskey in the middle of the night to put myself back to sleep, though I’ve never been a drinker, and have barely been able get it up to take my daily four-mile walk.

Blessedly, one day my mind did a 180. With the forced down time resulting from the fall, I finally understood that the Universe wasn’t picking on me. The injury was a gift, a wake-up call. Instead of wallowing in surly thoughts, I remembered that it is a miracle to be living. I was given a message to focus on all aspects of myself: my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I had to figure out how to reach for joy and allow grief rest beside it. The silver lining of this harsh lesson is realizing that it’s a choice to either notice the beauty surrounding me, or to look out the window and scowl at the world.
I choose life.

Here’s to you if you’re searching for a new “normal” required by the pandemic instead of living in victimhood. If you’re strong enough to reach out to help the mean folk who are less capable of starting down that path for themselves.

The Photo: Silver lining or no, you better believe I’ll refrain from laughing at Funk’s pain as often as I do.

P.S. Book 2 of the C’mon Funk Series releases May 24, 2023. To pre-order at the discounted rate, please click below.