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I get a rash every time I recover from any sort of illness. The first time it happened, it was assumed that I was allergic to the penicillin I’d been given. That was a million years ago and I have developed that rash ever since, the morning after I’ve turned the corner, no matter what has made me sick or what I took to get over it.

This week I had a rough 24 hours from the flu shot. The next morning, there was that rash, a visible sign that I am better. Ahh. It always makes me smile. And I feel better still, because of that friendly rash.

(The downside this time was that I was denied my weekly allergy shot because of it. “But it happens all the time!” I cried. “It doesn’t itch!” “It’ll be gone tomorrow!” I never thought I’d beg for a shot in the arm but it is ragweed season and I wanted that shot.)

I’ve been thinking about this little rash. Once a nurse remarked, “What a funny little body!” when I told her. But I feel pretty lucky to have a body that gives me a visible sign that I’ve healed. You are good to go, it says. All better. It’s like having a loving parent who kisses your booboo to make it better. The rash actually adds to my good feeling. No ambiguity. I know I’m better when that rosy little rash shows up. I’m kind of like a plant whose leaves pull up from drooping when it’s given what it needs.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a simple, visible sign that other things are getting better, without conjecture or speculation? Things like relationships, your art practice, the economy, the pandemic, the environment? You could just have a look and know. Oh! It’s better now! Whew! No well-meaning friend offering advice, no puffed up critic, analyst or pundit Telling All. Just an easy knowing.

Punctuation is all important! Is it, “Dogs, please close the gate” or “Dogs!! Please close the gate!”?

I suppose we could rely on our inner knowing for personal things, if only we trusted it. But then there are doubts and limiting beliefs and all. Ugh. And on the others, things are just not that simple, are they? I am happy that I do at least have this “funny little body” to say, Hey! You’re all right! whenever I’ve had a minor illness.

“The existentialist cannot accept that man can be helped by any sign on earth, for he will interpret the sign as he chooses.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

“The untuned mind receives no signal from the universe.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson, Song of a Nature Lover

“For those of you who are, ‘waiting for a sign . . .’ if you woke up today, THAT’S YOUR SIGN!” ― Steve Maraboli

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”
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