The other day was simply rotten. I received some disturbing personal news immediately before I was called into my work staff meeting. I was having trouble looking anyone in the eye and shutting off the whirlwind of emotions and thoughts in my head. While 11 of us surrounded the conference table, my boss asked if I was okay. When I tried to speak, and despite my attempt to reign it back, all that stuff going on inside of me started to slowly seep out through tears, with 10 sets of eyes on me. I was thinking, “Lovely, awkward moment! Let’s just have an emotional breakdown right here in front of everyone,” when we managed to quickly move into discussing business.
When staff meeting ended, my boss dismissed each person one by one except me. This horrendously busy and driven man I have been honored to work for over the past 3 years was kind enough to step into his non-boss mode for a few moments to express his kindness and support.
Two days later, two of the girls in the office presented me with a card that had been signed by all the office staff, expressing to me their support and encouragement through my hard time. The front of the card is a photo of a bowl of cherries.
Without thinking of the connection, I put the card on display next to the photo of my Grandma Sammy that sits next to my work computer monitor.
Today it dawned me how appropriate that is. The 1931 George Gershwin song, “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” uses the phrase to say that we shouldn’t take life seriously. While that idea rings true sometimes, I’ve always thought of the phrase the other way; to me, it means we she should see and seek the good in life. That’s the way Grandma Sammy got through her trials. That’s the way she lived her life. That’s what she taught her children and grandchildren and many others by example and word–to have a positive outlook on life.
I don’t know that she ever used the specific words, but it’s safe to say her philosophy goes along with the phrase that “life is a bowl of cherries”. Right now, I can even imagine her saying that we need to work through and toss out the rotten cherries to make room for and focus on the new, delicious, fresh ones.
Whether or not she said the commonly known phrase, six years after her passing my grandmother’s legacy continues to teach me and I’m able to enjoy the fresh cherries in my life.