FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Ice Cream


by Dave Markwell

The softness of the morning melted like ice cream throughout the rest of my day. And like melted ice cream, once it was gone, I was left with a sense of loss and a longing for some more. The day became hard as my obligations steered me in many directions, most of which I did not feel like travelling. Some days are like this.

In the morning, a slow and thoughtful awareness of each minute of my life was laser focused and clear. This does not happen very often and when it does I recognize it as precious. Usually, my mind drifts and flits and floats to the various projects and responsibilities I live with, never finding a place to land and sit for a while. This was the rest of my day. With a stifling logjam of obligations, I felt overwhelmed by their sheer volume. My to-do list seems to grow exponentially every day. I can’t keep up with it. This troubles me much of the time.

Except this morning, when the sun was low in the eastern sky and much of the world was still asleep. I felt like I had a secret. I was content and connected to the good parts of my life. It is easy for me to stumble into life’s potholes and skin my knees on my daily challenges. I guess these thoughts were still asleep, as well. The softness of this peace was nice and probably necessary.

The rest of my day bordered on disaster. Once my peace was gone, it was gone for good. I was stressed and uneasy and uncertain. The pullers pulled and I resisted. That was my problem. I didn’t feel like being pulled. Life always pulls and we can choose to help navigate the course it pulls us or we can fight it. Life doesn’t care. It is going to pull anyway. We cannot change this. We can only choose our response. Today, I fought. And I lost.

I lost a beautiful day filled with potentially powerful moments of brilliant ideas and rewarding exchanges. I did not seek nor welcome them, so they were lost to me. I did not allow myself a chance to win. I manifested a loser, a dud and a day of my life wasted by me not wanting to be a part of it. I blew it.

But, as all days do, this one ended. And in the smoky twilight, sitting in my house occupied only by my dogs, a football game on TV, country music on my I-Pod, and me, my morning returned. My family went to a movie and I had the house to myself. Rarely does this happen. It was quiet and felt like a secret, too. No longer burdened by the day that wasn’t, I fell into the easy steps of being that I had chased away all day. I let my feet go and danced with the moment.

Sometimes spazzy and awkward, sometimes poised and smooth, this dance is a choice. The music is always playing and we decide to share it or to sit on a chair by the punchbowl and watch our ice cream melt. Melting ice cream happens in spite of our will to save it. As I sit on my couch with my dog lying at my feet, I understand that this is so and tomorrow when my ice cream melts, I will lick it off my fingers or go to the fridge and get some more. I can have ice cream any time I choose. I have a lot of damn ice cream.

[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


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