Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, everybody! I started today at the Jersey Shore where I had been invited to spend the weekend with some friends. I went out to run early this morning and chanced upon the startling sight of a large group of women of assorted sizes, ages spanning six decades, moving together in perfect harmony, filling the band-stand and spilling out on to the grass surrounding it.

At first glance, I thought I had stumbled upon Wildwood’s synchronized belly dance team, however, I soon surmised that this was in fact, an exercise class led by a contagiously enthusiastic blonde. After watching for scarcely a minute, I put down my water bottle and joined in the fun.

We bounced and gyrated, shook our booty and strutted our stuff sweatily under the morning sun. Our joie-de-vivre knew no bounds as we formed a can-can line and then twirled about, swinging each other around with such girlish innocence and playfulness. As I stretched up my arms into the blue sky above me, I was seized with emotion. I thought of the patients I had tended to in hospice last week and in particular, the one who had died and my heart surged with gratitude.

I was filled with a profound awareness of the blessings I was receiving. Such a simple yet sweet joy: strangers laughing and smiling as they danced together under a blue sky. How lucky I was, to be alive, to be healthy, to be free and above all, to be able to be conscious of this and to appreciate it all.

It is sunset now and as I look at the sky again, I am relieved to be brought back to this state of mind once again. The worries with which I have been preoccupied for the past couple of hours shrink back into their appropriately insignificant proportions, compared to all that I truly can rejoice in and give thanks for today.

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