Everyday Magic

After the past four days of enumerating and celebrating my blog accomplishments, I woke this morning feeling uneasy. I have spent the past ten and a half years talking about my life, my grief, my feelings, my traumas, and the dramas that seem to follow me. (Before that, I mostly talked about reading and writing, but Jeff’s death blew me wide open, and that was reflected here on this blog.) Suddenly, after all this time, I’m uneasy, unsure that I like people knowing so much about me. It makes me vulnerable, and seems to put me at a disadvantage with people I see in real life. Do I really want them to know my innermost thoughts? Do I really want them to see my soul bared? It doesn’t seem a smart thing to do.

For example, too many people here have guessed the identity of the one person in town I try to avoid (this person’s insulting remarks were the last straw for me and Facebook), and that’s more than I want anyone to know. I’m also not sure how comfortable I am discussing things that bother me when I know the people involved will be reading what I write. I’ve been censoring myself to an extent because of this, but even so, I tend to think I say too much. Still, whatever a person says to an author and blogger is fair game for a writing topic. That’s what I do — I write about what happens in my life and try to find a lesson or gratitude or some sort of accommodation with the occurrence.

But it does make me vulnerable, and I wonder how wise I am to continue with my way of blogging.

One thing in particular happened, a minor occurrence for sure, but I took it to heart. This added to my confusion about continuing the blog path I’m on, mostly because I wanted to write about it and wasn’t sure if I should. And yet, it is a bloggable situation.

The other day, I was driving back from a nearby town when I happened to see a vehicle ready to pull onto the highway. After I passed, it pulled in behind me, and it stayed behind me as we headed into town. This tickled me because it was only the day before that I had seen the vehicle for the first time, and I knew who was driving. It seemed a bit of serendipity, even solidarity, on what is normally a faceless and friendless highway. One of life’s small miracles. Everyday magic.

The other driver’s reaction? That I drive slowly.

Huh? When is driving the speed limit slowly? Well, to be honest, it almost always is. Several cars had passed me, crossing a double-yellow line to get ahead of me shortly before I met up with this particular driver. I wonder what all those drivers would have done if I had been driving 55mph the way I’m supposed to. Driving 65mph is not a good idea for a car with such a small, air-cooled engine, and my mechanic cautioned me about burning out the engine. Still, I sailed along at 65 until we hit town, and then I slowed way down to the new speed limit, and then way, way down when it came time to turn.

I tend to forget that people don’t know there are cars without power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmissions. If you’ve ever driven such a car, you know you can’t slow at the last minute and then careen around a corner. You have to brake in plenty of time, and then downshift to make a safe turn.

Still, this wasn’t the point. The point is that I thought the drive into town was something special, a bit of magic, and the other driver thought I drove too slowly.

I just realized I answered my dilemma. This episode is not a reason to back off from telling my truth, the only thing unique I have to write about, but is instead a reason to keep going. Someone needs to point out the minor miracles, the everyday magic, the important lessons, and the serendipitous moments on the road of life that would otherwise pass unnoticed.

I’m sure my uneasiness will eventually dissipate. After all, considering the myriad heartfelt grief posts I’ve written, I’m no stranger to vulnerability.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

15 Responses to “Everyday Magic”

  1. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    My Facebook posts and blog posts portray me as a fictional character who leads the life only a Leo can lead. That keeps people from getting to know me. I’ve felt safer doing that. But not as real as you are saying what you’ve been saying about your life and your experiences.

  2. Judy Galyon Says:

    I understand the driving dilemma. I have my dog riding with me some days & therefore I drive at a speed where she can enjoy hanging her head out the window, enjoying all the sight, sounds & smells of where we go. When traffic gets too much, I speed up & she retracts. I find I am more comfortable at slower speeds than when I was younger. The joys of a senior citizen.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Actually, I wasn’t going slow. I was going the speed limit. I’m not about to get a ticket after all these years just because people other people don’t know how to obey the law.

  3. Uthayanan Says:

    There is something strange in my attitude of driving. I never interested in driving. Never hesitated to drive for long distance if it is necessary. Always calm with the trafic jam. Never exceed with the speed limit. Strangely after wife dead even I am not in a hurry naturally I started to drive fast I have no feeling that I am driving faster than before in town I have the tendency to drive maximum with the speed limit. Outside town is the same. I am a senior citizen. Pat have got any idea with grief and speed !!!…

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It sounds as if you’re trying to outrun your grief. Or maybe you’re just doing things differently — it’s in small ways like this that we begin to separate ourselves from what we were with our mates. Or it could be part of that need for adventure so many of us have, though to be honest, I don’t know why we need adventure — maybe just a way of feeling something, anything. Obviously, I can’t know the reason in your case, but it’s all part of the grief process. Nothing will ever be the same, not even the way you drive.

  4. Joe Says:

    I don’t use Facebook, for the reasons you enumerate. I don’t care for anyone to find me online (including work colleagues or similar) or for anything I post to come back and bite me. I’ve learned not to, and try not to, make predictions or sweeping statements that don’t age well. You dilemma and vulnerability are real things, I guess, in a medium that is forever.

  5. Sam Sattler Says:

    Self-censorship takes all the fun out of blogging…or reading blogs, for that matter…but we all do it to one degree or another. I have some good friends who are so politically far away from the way I see things that I always kind of worry about inadvertently mentioning something that seems perfectly obvious to me but would maybe outrage them. I don’t want to lose another single friend to politics – even religion is a safer subject these days – so I bite my tongue a lot. But that makes me feel like a cowardly fool more times than not.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m beginning to wonder if this division is somehow purposely created. If we can’t talk to each other in any sort of real way, then it’s easier to control us. To what end, I don’t know, but it’s not an easy thought.

      • Sam Sattler Says:

        I think that’s exactly right. We are purposely being split into factions by race, political party, religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) etc. by people who manage to profit it from our unrest and unhappiness. The media are the biggest culprits when it comes to monetary profit, but the two major political parties benefit from the division by gaining or regaining power. That’s why I try to tune-out as much of the babbling as I can, but no one can afford to completely shut down the media because that, in another way, is dangerous, too.

  6. LMH Says:

    When we share our stories and thoughts we are indeed vulnerable and yes, some people may attack us for what we say. But there are many many readers who will gain personal insights from our stories, who will be soothed, who will stop giving themselves such a hard time, who will have that overwhelming relief of ‘oh thank-god, its not just me’ And that, in my opinion, makes any negative feedback worth putting up with. xx

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I thought about you after I posted this, and how you always encouraged me to tell my story, encouraged me to get to the truth of the matter and of me. Thanks for reminding me, once again, how important this is. With so many people hiding behind masks nowadays (literally and figuratively), I suppose it is especially important to show one’s true face.

  7. Joe Says:

    I wish this platform had “upvote” enabled. Lots of good comments and thoughts in this post. 🙂

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