Tag Archives: “let’s do it together


Happy In(ter)dependence Day

Perhaps you will attend a parade today or a block party or family barbecue. Interesting, isn’t it that all the activities we typically participate in to celebrate July 4 involve people?

For several years now I’ve wished we could rename this holiday and call it National Interdependence Day—seems, really, to describe the day more accurately. Those early settlers needed each other to draw up and execute their plan for a life in America.

When I think of the word independence, I think of a sturdy, determined two-year-old proclaiming, “Do it self!” But no single person among us is smart enough, strong enough, capable enough to do life alone. Maybe we know that deep-down and that explains, in part, why we celebrate Independence Day surrounded by others.

If you read my blog last week http://ow.ly/yK7n301UajB, you read my musings on playing second clarinet and friendship. I talked about the idea of playing a supporting role in friendship and letting others shine. I think I missed a piece of the puzzle, though, the idea of working together for the greater good of the whole no matter what your role—first clarinet or second clarinet. My clarinet-playing friend, Roberta, commented on the blog and beautifully explained this.

As you think this weekend about independence and interdependence, let me leave you with the wise words of my friend Roberta. (Oh, and she found a yearbook photo of us holding our clarinets—too funny!) And I also leave you with a short sentence that has become my favorite: “Let’s do it together.”

Roberta writes:

If given the choice, I, too, like to hide in the back. It was a challenge to be “first clarinet” sometimes. But it was so much fun to be a part of something “bigger,” like a “music team.” God calls us to use our talents to support each other, just like the Body of Christ. My favorite part of our musical journey was playing clarinet duets with you. Loved the harmony. We can challenge ourselves to be our best, whether it be in the lead or a supporting role. Together we are more than the sum of the individual parts. And I am glad that you had the opportunity and challenge to be first chair our senior year. You have grown and blossomed from the experience.

Thank you for your continued friendship!


 1979 All State Band Roberta, Mike, Afton


Let’s . . . Together

“Let’s do it together.”

My mentor and friend Helen deVette spoke those words to me at a dark time in my life. Depression had settled over me although she didn’t know it.

“Let’s do a journaling class together for the women at the college. I can’t do it by myself. Could you help me?”

That word together bought me hope.

Pulled me out of isolation.
Reminded me I had something to offer other people.
Shouted to me that I had a team.

I just had another encounter with this fabulous word.

I just returned from a NJ visit—not exactly a warm-weather get-away, but one of my favorite destinations. Why? My friend’s kitchen sits in NJ.

Linda and I first met in college, a few years (okay, decades!) ago. While her husband dashed off to Europe to deliver a linguistics paper, the two of us sat in her sun-filled kitchen, while the homemade split-pea soup bubbled.

As I let the layers of responsibility and concern begin to peel off my back, I began to realize that depression once again lurked at my door. Winter has been cold and looong here in Illinois. And dark. My “happy” light helps. But lately I have settled into the basement sofa more and more. I know exercise, diet, and connection time would help. But oh, the sofa feels so comfortable.

So as Linda and I sat in her kitchen I found myself putting words to my inner struggle and confessing to her my need to get moving.

“Let’s do it together,” she said without hesitation.

“While you’re here I’ll show you some of my exercise videos. We can do them together. And I’m doing this online program called My Fitness Pal. It really helps me keep on track. https://www.myfitnesspal.com

So for the next few days, between soup and chocolate covered strawberries, we exercised, laughing at ourselves as we tried to keep up with the perky hosts on exercise videos or patting ourselves on the back after we shoveled ourselves out of a driveway full of 8 inches of snow.

At home now I have my copies of the exercise videos, a myfitnesspal account, and a word ringing in my head: Together.

Somehow, today, the winter feels like it just might end.