Last week I ran into one of my neighbors on my daily walk around the neighborhood. We decided to walk together. Now, I’m a pretty social gal, but I normally like my solitary walk time. It’s my chance to talk to myself, commune with nature and gather my thoughts and intentions for the day. But this day, I welcomed some time with her. She has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis and this was one of her first walks after several grueling weeks of chemo treatments. And I sensed she might enjoy some company. Turns out, I got something special from our time together too.
I found myself matching her pace, which was considerably slower than my normal ‘get the heart rate up and push through’ gait. And as we settled into our comfortable stroll around the lake, we got to talking. Mostly about the life lessons she’s experiencing as a direct result of being faced with her disease.
As we approached the first of three benches that the city has placed in strategic spots around the lake, she told me she needed to rest and that she makes a habit of stopping at each of them. I gladly sat with her as we continued our conversation.
By the end of our walk, I had learned something new about my neighbor. I learned that her journey with cancer is helping her become more empowered, to speak up for herself and be more pro-active in asking for what she wants her life to be like- every single day. She learned that even when I’m not officially coaching, I’m a good listener.
The next day, I walked the same route. This time I was on my own. And as I passed the benches, I chose to sit- for just a few moments- to think of my neighbor and the gift she gave me that day. She reminded me that we each have the choice, every day, of how we want to be in the world. And that to sit for a few moments on a bench by a lake, is indeed a wonderful thing.