Tag Archives: inspired instinct

On Two Requests: Procrastination and Upbeat


Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Out of the blue, on the same day, I’ve had two blog requests—one, from Marisa, a nurse friend, who suggested the subject of “procrastinating,” and the other, from my husband, Marv, on “being upbeat.” I’m grateful and curious about how it will be to write about these two different words.

On procrastination— the most common definition is “to keep putting off something that needs to be done.” I certainly procrastinate from time to time. Usually, I have good reason, as did my friend. She used the word to describe her delay to confirm a pending plan between us. She had just returned from a trip abroad and was struggling with a cold. A full-time nurse, she had hit the ground running. To my way of thinking, the plan was in place. We had time to confirm, and she likely had all she could do to manage her work and personal commitments.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to tell her that sometimes, we give ourselves a bum wrap and are over critical of our behavior to others. In this situation, my e-mail to her arrived at a too-busy time and it took two go-rounds to firm up our plans. Nowhere along the path did I feel she was procrastinating. In fact, she was humorous and upbeat in our succinct messages.

Up beat is defined as “optimistic, a contented state of being happy.” When a puzzling or unusual event occurs, I try not make assumptions and to search for possible explanations. By widening the context and considering alternatives, I often arrive at a positive way of thinking about a situation.

Three weeks ago, Marv and I were awakened at dawn by an odd, rhythmic, tinny sound emanating from the solarium next to our bedroom. Marv’s first take was that it involved our heating system and called the heating company. It was a logical possibility given there were air circulation problems earlier in the month. A quick system check was negative, leaving the chimney as the likely source.

The next time  I was awakened, I bounded out of bed, opened the fireplace glass and bent down to listen. Waves of sound, like wings brushing against metal, vibrated down the chimney flue. I recalled last spring’s event, how a young robin had fluttered headlong onto one window for days, over and over.  Could this be the sound of another bird learning to fly? Could there be a nest near the metal critter-protector at the top of the chimney? Marv recollected that he had heard bird sounds accompanying the fluttery echoes some mornings.

For three peaceful days, the flutter went silent only to briefly return again this morning. Earlier this week, I noticed a red cardinal and his red-beaked lady kissing on a ledge by the back patio. Shortly, an even more vivid male cardinal joined the couple. I felt up lifted and upbeat at the fresh redness of his youthful feathers; there is beauty in silent flight.



A Near Miss

courtesy of Erika Sanders


I keep thinking about the near accident I had at the supermarket recently. My cart was full as I weaved in and out of the narrow aisle filled with shoppers opening and closing the frozen food doors. I was headed to the end door in hopes of finding my mainstay Ezekial English Muffins, in the orange box.

I saw the child first—female, perhaps two, certainly not yet three. She was lean and tiny with fine, blond shoulder-length hair. They were rushing, no carriage, hands entwined. The child and my basket were on collision course.

The dad—tall, thick-shouldered, athletic—moved fast and with ease. He was leaning down and speaking to the child loud enough for me to hear, “Let’s see if we can find the bread on this aisle.”

She was too close. When I noticed her chin-thrust effort to keep up with her dad no matter the cost, I overshot the freezer and tucked the carriage tight to make room for her to pass.

I turned up the next aisle to circle back for my item when the dad and the child again whizzed by. “We’ll find it. I’m sure the bread is somewhere along here,” he assured.

Moving too fast, he had spun past the bread shelves twice. For a moment, I thought about offering to help but hesitated. It was the racing. It was the vibe. This man was so certain, so prideful; my intrusion, no matter how well intended, could cost him.

I awakened this morning thinking of the child—a brave little soldier in the role of dad’s companion in the quest for their special bread. Nowhere on her dad’s mind was the danger of moving too fast with a child in tow in a narrow aisle filled with carts. At the moment of our near encounter, I felt huge, Hulk-like, fearfully aware that my cart could injure in an instant.

There are moments of inspired instinct: to know when to step up and when to hang back. In this instant, I am grateful I had the presence to navigate my grocery cart safely and more, to pass on the temptation to offer help when none was asked of me. After all, being hero to his daughter was this dad’s job.