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Smellin’ the Roses at the DMV

By on Sep 15, 2011

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I was reading this great book this morning and came across a new character who told her story of having it all: Great Husband, Great Kids, Great Career and Great Health…ummm rewind…I meant to say a Great Big Battle with her Health.
This woman was battling cancer; the disease that scares the bejeezus out of me. And while I trust that our lives are in God’s hands, I can’t seem to shake the fear that I or someone close to me could be next. While reading about this woman’s optimistic view on life, I thought back to a recent experience at the DMV.
Like most of us, I dreaded the line and the new picture to come. The last photo was decent and so I was scared I’d mar my image with a worse one. I didn’t mind that I was wearing a yoga tank and pants, but what I did care about was that my eyebrows were shaped and my hair was in order. That morning I’d primped and primed myself for the 2 second photo shoot and even had the nerve to practice smiling…with my eyes (per Tyra Banks advice).
When I arrived at the DMV, I jumped in line, pulled out my old ID and stopped short of praying when I saw the woman in front of me eyeing her ID as well. I then noticed that she was wearing a hat and that her head was bald. I glanced at the previous ID and saw that she had a short crop hair cut in the photo and thought to myself, “Oh no! The ID photographers are NOT hat friendly.”
As we progressed through the line, and waited patiently to have our photos taken the dreaded moment arose when they called her name for her photo. She sat in the chair, and shined the sweetest smile just before being asked to remove her hat. “Oh, I don’t have any hair underneath…it’s the chemo,” she said sheepishly. “I understand Ma’am, but you have to remove your hat for the picture,” said the photographer.
The woman removed her hat and mentioned something about wishing she had a scarf and that very moment my heart shattered into a million pieces. I wanted to hug her and tell her that she was incredibly beautiful, even without hair, but I couldn’t get the words out. Plus, I didn’t want her to snub me; I was way to emotional at that point.
I proceeded to take my photo and smile with my lips (instead of my eyes), grabbed my ID and shuffled back to the car where Philip and Zoe were waiting. It had been 3 years since the previous ID had been issued and in that time I’d given birth to a baby. In 3 years time the woman ahead of me had started her fight to live.
Nothing is ever promised. I keep reminding myself of that, but sometimes it doesn’t stick long enough for me to value every precious second of life. I guess every now and again I could stand to have a verbal reminder (that’s all…nothing more) to stop and smell the roses.
Do you need a reminder sometimes? If you remind me from time to time, I’ll definitely remind you. Deal?
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