“Everything nourishes what is strong already.”
I have never read a Jane Austen novel. I watched Keira Knightly chimp-grimace her way through Pride and Prejudice, and thought it was okay, but I wasn’t at all tempted to pick up that or any other Austen book. And yet, this is my favorite of the countless quotes I have stored in my memory or on paper over the years.
I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Between physical injuries (that make working very unpleasant), some emotional stuff I’m going through related to friends and my own sense of self, and the anxiety of applying to graduate school, I’ve felt perpetually on the edge of breaking down. I wanted to go to bed at 7:30 last night, but forced myself to stay awake and didn’t end up getting to sleep until 2 am. I wanted to stay in bed all day today, and if not for the bright blue sky and sunny day, I probably would have. But I forced myself up and out of the house, took the dog on a long walk to return some library books and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I felt much better when we returned home. The exercise and productivity served me well. I came back, made lunch and mapped out a plan for the week of things I want to accomplish and things I absolutely need to get done. I resolved to go for a run this evening, to make the most of the good weather while it’s here. It isn’t much, but it’s a big jump from waking up this morning and wishing I could just live in my bed.
That’s why I like the Austen quote so much, because I constantly find my life and activities reaffirming its sentiment. If I can stay strong, even when I’m feeling low and weak, the simple acts of daily life will lift me up and nourish my soul. The sun and the breeze, a long walk, my dog’s sweet face, a warm cup of coffee, a freshly made bed. Everything will nourish me if I remain strong. So I get up each morning, even when I feel like I can’t, and wait for the world to bring me back to normal, back to stable and healthy and good.
Of course, walking downstairs and seeing the bouquet of flowers Dan gave me yesterday certainly helps.