Overcommitment & synchronicity

Gah. I wish I could post more. I’d LOVE if I could do this every day.

I hope I’ve learned my lesson this time about overcommitment. Back in June a dear friend of mine who’s doing awesome stuff with her career-like writing questions for nursing board exams-asked me to contribute to a basic maternity nursing textbook she’s editing. Since I don’t have enough to do, I eagerly accepted.

OK, OK. I’ll just be honest. I realize there’s a certain degree of ego in my unconsidered “yes” to her request. One, who doesn’t want to see their name in print? Two, only ego could allow me to think that I’d POSSIBLY be able to shoehorn one more thing into my life.

My paralysis over how HUGE this project is has been a forbidding shadow lurking in the corner. For the past week I’ve happened upon a new strategy: when I come home in the evening, I open my computer. When that little voice pipes up, “I DON’T WANNA!”, I just tell her, “Fine. You can write ONE SENTENCE. THEN you can go on Facebook or The Oatmeal or College Humor.”

And that’s how books get written. Because of course I end up doing a few paragraphs.

Too bad I didn’t figure this out until two weeks before the final draft due date.

So I figured I’d repost something I’ve already written.

See you guys after December 1st!

Back in 2008 I was on my way home on the El late one night. The woman in front of me got up the stop before mine. As she walked out and passed the window she glanced back at where she’d been sitting with a bit of a smirk.

When I got up I saw an envelope that read, “Open me!”. If I’d been a more suspicious person I may have just left it, but I’m not. Trusting is my default setting and has generally served me well. Especially now that my life is populated with nothing but trustworthy people. But I digress.

The envelope contained a card that spilled a Starbucks gift card on my lap and read, “Enjoy! This random act of kindness has been brought to you in memory of Happyanne Kuhn, 1980-2006.”

It took me a few days, but googling her name led me to a newsletter of the Virginia chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). Happyanne was the daughter of Teresa Hak-Kuhn, a doula trainer and childbirth activist in Virginia.

Seriously-what are the odds? That this random act of kindness should land into the hands of one of Chicago’s two home birth midwives?

I made a few phone calls and eventually talked to Teresa. We had quite a conversation. It’s been long enough that I don’t remember details, but Teresa marvelled that something that no doubt got started in Virginia ended up in Chicago. And of course it didn’t “end” with me, I’ve since passed it on. I got to hear about Happyanne’s incredibly interesting life and her untimely death at the age of 25.

Teresa came to Chicago about six months or a year later for a doula training weekend course, and I met her in person when I was moving into the same building that the doula training was being held in.

Some would call this a miracle. I’d stop short of calling it a miracle and just consider it God saying hi, and possibly chuckling a little bit. That being said, all of us can find magic and miracles where we choose to see them.

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2 Responses to Overcommitment & synchronicity

  1. Chris says:

    Dear Urban Midwife:

    I am the woman who left the Starbucks card on the eL in Chicago. I actually just heard the story of how you got in contact with HappyAnne’s mother today, through the woman who originally had the idea of placing Starbucks cards around Richmond, Virginia (http://kindnessgirl.com/2008/02/19/guerrilla-goodness-2/). I did a bit of Googling and stumbled onto this blog entry. I wanted to let you know how happy it makes me that the card turned into something more than a cup of coffee. Thanks for passing along the guerilla goodness and for making my day.

    Sincerely,
    Christina Couch

  2. Pingback: *crickets* | Urban Midwife

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