by Dave Markwell

Yesterday was a long day. It was a day filled with stress, emotion, busyness that goes nowhere, and feelings of lack and fear. These days happen. Having had enough of them, I understand that they pass. Knowing this doesn’t make them fun, but does allow for a little hope. And a little hope is all we need some days…

My hope yesterday came in the form of a lively and rich conversation with one of my smart and thoughtful CrossFit members. Sometimes a conversation that takes one’s mind off of auto-pilot and requires a little effort expands us. It makes us bigger and reminds us through our participation that we are already bigger and capable of big thoughts in a world that sometimes tries to shrink us to its size.

Upon my arrival home from a long day, I entered my living room to witness BOTH of my kids doing their homework on the couch. Their heads were down in focused effort as they greeted me with the obligatory, “hey, dad”.

Not wanting to disrupt this lotto moment, I began quietly preparing dinner. Earlier in the day, I had marinated some pork chops, so I stepped out on our deck to put them on the grill. It was cold so I had my heavy coat on. In my pocket, I had Jimmy Buffett playing on my phone helping to keep me warm.

As I fed the dogs and flipped pork chops, my life began to feel pretty good again. Then, as I looked through the kitchen window from the deck, I saw my son chopping broccoli. This is significant in that I only had to ask him once. Normally, a task like chopping broccoli would require at least three “asks” followed by a threat…minimum. Sooo….this was nice to see.
Through the same window, at the same time, I saw my daughter practicing piano. I could only see her head over the pony wall upstairs where the piano sits, but that was all I needed. In one single frame, I had my son doing something I requested and my daughter doing something she should, without request. It was the moment when my feet came back to the ground and my world felt as perfect as it ever gets.

In life, we spend a lot of time and effort in work and worry polishing things. We dote and dance and stress and strive for things to be better. For all our efforts at scrubbing and shining, some days are just going to be dull.

Life is an untidy business. And I kind of like it that way…This morning as I took my dogs outside for their constitutionals, I stood in the darkness and fog and thought about my long-lost dad and felt like crying. Reflecting on this moment I realize that, though they may lack some of the luster we think we’d prefer, these soft, unclean moments with our soul exposed and our truth clear contain things more valuable than shine…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also 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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