Rainy Day People


Maybe you’re not old enough to know them, or maybe you were lucky enough to have had crooners like Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg, Joni Mitchell and Janis Ian as the soundtrack to your most memorable years.  I’ve always been drawn to the stories in their songs.  When I was sick, music was my go-to mind medicine. These artists and others like them brought me solace when I needed it, a focus for my mind, and best of all comfort.

They still do. I was driving along in the car yesterday and a wave of tearfulness swept over me. I had already put the windscreen wipers on before I realised the rain was my own.  Jostein Garder described this general sadness that I feel, in his book ‘Sophie’s World’. He called it ‘world-sadness’. That feeling of connectedness to all the tragedies in life, happening everywhere. It can be so overwhelming. So tiring to have this kind of emotional hyper-sensitivity. If only I could flick the switch and find my happy self in moments like that. Instead, I have learned to just let the waves of it wash over me.

Have you ever been deep in the world-sadness and the most perfect song has come up in your playlist or on the radio? Yesterday it was Gordon Lightfoot, ‘Rainy Day People’.  So beautiful. My rainy day person is my friend Flo. She popped in the other day with a gift for me. She said, it had pretty much bought itself before she had time to think. Somehow these are just meant to be yours, she said. I opened the parcel to find six exquisite tea mugs, each with different blue and white moroccan mosaic patterns.  They are so perfect. They reminded me instantly of the china my Mum collected, that precious, carefully curated selection now amalgamated with my own.  I held one of the mugs in my hands and smiled gratefully at my friend. I don’t need gifts, but the thoughtfulness of hers made me feel profoundly fortunate. How lucky I am to have a friend like her. Someone who understands me, who somehow knows just when it’s time to call.  I hope you’ve got some rainy day people in your world, too.

If you haven’t heard this Gordon Lightfoot classic lately, or ever…
here is Rainy Day People:

Making Peace : Days Like These

I guess we all feel a bit awkward, thrust into a new group of people.  I think it is part of the human condition.  I went to so many schools when I was growing up that I did some crazy things trying to get people to notice me, to see who I was, beyond the be-spectacled, nerdy hand-raiser.  I was those things, but I was much more besides. I wanted them to get to know me faster, I wanted to find my kind of people and put myself out of my social purgatory misery.  Friends make the world go round.

I have a few dearly treasured friends these days.  People who are with me in person.  Supportive, wonderful women who are strong and wise and warm and funny.  Girls who ‘get me’.  I hope to have those friendships forever.

And then there are my online friends. I never thought I would have online friends. I didn’t know how to make friends online. But the people I have met through my support group for Dysautonomia and the people I have met through my blogging course, I now count among my best friends. I have been welcomed with open arms by people who ‘get me’. When a dear online friend died this year, it opened up a gaping wound of grief that has not closed.  It’s hard to understand how that is possible, but it is.  I’ve ‘met’ people who have changed my world from lonely to lovely. Warm fuzzy loveliness.  Connection instead of isolation.  These friendships are as real as those with people I can see and touch.

It is interesting to think that we have all met because of our struggles and shared pursuits. We reach out to each other from our solitude and we are no longer alone.  There is a deep resource of empathetic, beautiful souls out there; sharing experiences and caring for each other across the digital desert.  Beautiful people.  One day I would love to meet each one of them and wrap my arms around them in person.  Hello out there my friends.  You mean a lot to me.

I have a new group of friends, too.  A group that is just starting to build and grow.  People who read my words here.  I am so glad you are here. Everyone of us has difficulties we face and my hope is that no matter what yours are, you’ll find empathy here, with me.  I look forward to getting to know you, don’t be shy, make comments and I will respond, I promise.

Today I was listening to Janis Ian, one of the world’s most talented singer songwriters.  She wrote that song ‘At Seventeen’.  But she also sang this song.  I’d like to dedicate it today to my online friends.  Here’s to you out there, because even on ‘days like these’… you help me to make my peace.  I hope that I can help you make yours, too.