Discovering Delight in the Midst of Difficult Times

Walking home from a weekend exercise class this mid-February morning, the sun was shining brightly and felt warmer than the 24 degrees that showed on my phone app. Snow still covered the grass and sidewalks, capturing the sunlight and reflecting it back on my face.  I felt a smile come to me that spread across my face as I heard the sounds of birds singing nearby. Spring is still weeks away, but the hints of it are there, giving me a sense of delight as I stepped forward in gratitude for the beauty around me.  

I was especially thankful for the sun and the birds that morning–a difficult morning– as I received the sad news of the passing of one Roycemore’s long-tenured high school math teachers, Trina Brickman.  For those that don’t know Trina, she was a woman who left a lasting impression. She certainly left an impression on four decades of Roycemore students who learned to love math from the “Math Goddess.” She had a way of teaching that was memorable.  Her favorite day of the year was March 14th- Pi Day! She had a bust of Euclid- the father of Geometry- on her desk. Trina retired before my arrival at Roycemore, but I knew she was special the way people talked about her. Once you met her, you could never forget her inimitable stylish, colorful, fashion, and flair.  

Trina made an impact on many individuals well beyond Roycemore, and what I learned in hearing from her friends and family over the weekend was that she embraced a full life and took delight in sometimes the simplest of things.  As her husband shared, she was just as happy staying at a four-star hotel as she was at a Motel 6– happy because it mattered only that they were together. She teaches us still. The lesson? It’s important to take time on occasion to pause, to reflect, and to breathe in those simple things and those special people in our lives that give us joy.  We all know that there are many forces around us that are vying for our time and attention, yet if we give attention to the love, the beauty, and sometimes the stillness around us, it can be both uplifting for our brain, and also for our hearts and our health.