I had the best day on Sunday, largely because of the people in it. First I met two folks from church before the service. Charlana is a singer and Bruce is a dancer—boy, is he! He has that Fosse thing going on—totally engaging. I don’t know either Bruce or Charlana very well yet, but we’re in a class together and I wanted to find out more of what makes them tick. What it is (or seems to me) is great expectations. They have them. I have them. And they’re not misplaced.
I feel sad when people give up their expectations. Life bats us about and we think, “I’m too old to dance,” or “There are better singers than me.” But with great expectations, there’s a way. There’s always a way. When we’re around people who know that, we know it too.
Later, I had lunch with two colleagues. Diana has had success with several self-published books and wanted to talk about publishing; Janet is touring with her new book, Writing Down Your Soul, and we just wanted to meet. We had a lovely macrobiotic lunch at Mana on the Upper West Side and then, on a whim, headed for the Nicholas Roerich Museum. Roerich was a Russian painter, writer, and mystic who moved to the Himalayas after the Russian Revolution and painted incredible, spiritual works that appear to be back-lit somehow. The colors—the blue shades especially—are otherworldly, particularly astounding given that many of his paintings were done on cardboard. (Getting large canvases to the Himalayas in 1923 must have made for, literally, quite a trek. See Roerich’s “Bridge of Glory,” below.)
I’ve wanted to go to this museum for over four years. I was first captivated by Roerich’s work at twenty. I was a librarian at the Olcott Library & Research Center at the Theosophical Society in America, and we had some books that contained copies of his works. Then, on tour with my book Younger by the Day in 2005, I was in LA and went to see a spiritual healer. His apartment was modest, but he had several huge, breathtaking Roerichs. When I commented on them, he said, “You should go to the museum when you get back to New York.” I said I would. I believed I would. But it took that combined energy—Diana, Janet, myself—to catapult me from “gonna do that sometime” to “This is the day.”
In the evening, William (that’s my husband) and I went to a thank-you event for donors to Farm Sanctuary, one of our favorite charities. (They take in animals that were downed at slaughterhouses or subject to abuses greater than even the grisly factory-farm norms. The photo is the new paperback of the co-founder’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food.) Anyway, it was so nice: in a lovely little restaurant, Broadway East, way downtown. It wasn’t great big like a lot of these events, so it was easy to talk with people and get to know them. He probably wouldn’t admit, but I know William liked it that Joan Jett was there (he’s a fan), and I got to reconnect with a woman I knew seventeen years ago in a support group where we were all working through what had been holding us back. Seeing her—beautiful, elegant, sophisticated, doing work that is changing the world—was such a gift. Seeing how far she’s come told me that I’ve come a ways, too. (And we met an attorney who makes cigar-box guitars. I mean, how cool is that?)
Then we came home and hung out with Bobby (our cat) and watched a pivotal episode of Big Love. It was all just right. Every day is a gift from God. When I make the effort to populate one of them with so many of His amazing children, it feels that I may be giving God a little gift, too.