Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2017

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase. (Martin Luther King Jr.)

My teenage granddaughter is helping me with a novel I’m writing; she sees with younger eyes. I value her perspective. I value Kate.

As I drive to her house to drop off the first few chapters, the early morning sun blinds me. Sunglasses dull the intensity of the glare, but the shadowy lenses darken the road and traffic as well.

A premonition hits me. This day is not going to be easy. I’m not completely well yet. Fatigue wants to take over my thoughts and body. I can’t let it.

Along the well-known route I pass a dead opossum in the middle of the road. Around the next corner I see a young boy with a backpack. He is probably waiting for a school bus.

I see both death and learning. 

One turn north and my eyes get a temporary respite. Maybe today’s metaphorical staircase will contain more winding, uneven steps than a direct passage, up or down, in or out of sun and darkness.

The discomfort in my gut lightens for a while, yet the pain I see in the world grows beyond what I understand.

I feel a need to begin with accepting whatever happens today, hear what others say. Even if I can’t understand.

Faith—it’s taking each step as it comes. Into the glaring light. Into the frightening darkness. Into the unexplainable. Into giving without judgment. Into peace.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you’re good, bad things can still happen. And if you’re bad, you can still be lucky. ( Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible)

Our flight to Berlin left three hours ago. Since my IV pole and the solution attached would get in the way on a budget flight, I guess this small hospital room will need to provide any current adventure. The standard-issue hospital gown might be slightly distracting as well. The fact that I am ill could also be a travel problem.

As Friday night became Saturday morning an overfull emergency room wasn’t the kind of adventure I had in mind. True, airport hassle may be distressing, but it doesn’t compare to intense pain caught in a continuous cycle. The clock measured each deep poke into the center of my body and back.

I watched the other folk who also waited.

A woman with blood mimicking a single-tone red tie-die covered her belly. Then I noticed her raised hand, the source. Nevertheless, she appeared calm.

Then, there was a woman who wondered about as if aimless. She sat on the side of my chair.

“You can have this chair if you need it,” I told her. “I can move to the other side.” One spot was open.

She barely turned around, and then moved away. Quickly. I sensed something deeper than physical desperation, but couldn’t prove it. I guessed her injury to be bigger than any hospital could fix.

Once my tests determined I needed to be admitted, I waited in my emergency cell until eight in the morning when a room was ready. My husband had wanted to wait with me, but I told him I was safe. He should care for himself. Go home. Rest. Then, he could care for me.

Yes, the pain continued, but my husband’s deep sense of sacrifice buoyed me.

I have some form of pancreatitis—obviously not connected to alcohol use since root beer is the only beer in my experiential vocabulary. No known connections yet. I’m told they may never be found. Sometimes, even the professionals never discover answers.

Today, I deal with much less discomfort, but many more questions. What the heck happened, and why now? Perhaps answers aren’t always what life is about.

This question I can answer, however: When will you be discharged? The answer: today. As early as this afternoon.

From the huge window in my room, I watch as a flock of geese fly through the rain. In V-shaped formation. Undeterred.

True, my original flight plans didn’t work out. Maybe on the next takeoff I will be more prepared. For now, I’m happy simply to return home.

Goodbye, IV line and helpful staff. I’m ready for departure. Hello, ordinary Tuesday.

composite photos of my room, a colorful approach

Read Full Post »

A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind. (John Neal)

I meet every Tuesday morning with a spiritual group I joined when my older son was a toddler. The subject of hope keeps bouncing to the surface. I could use it.

Watch the news for more than five minutes, and the desire to remain on the couch indefinitely becomes tempting.

Deportation of innocent young people, hurricanes, earthquakes, the exploitation of personal tragedy, hate and greed take over the screen. 

As my friends and I talk about love that reaches deeper than the average Valentine card, I lift my socks-covered feet onto the coffee table. A deep purple bruise has taken over my right foot.

I knocked a few books off the shelf and gravity won. The foot swelling will heal. In comparison to the grief I see around me, this pain is a pinprick. The difficulties we explore are stab wounds.

However, my friend gives me an icepack. Love wrapped in a maroon towel. A symbol of hope. My friends share both encouragement and experience. Not lofty, disjointed everything-will-be-okay platitudes.

I share a short video. A Canadian politician is hassled by someone who confuses Sikhism for Islam. Clarification between the two groups is less important than the interruption centered in hate. Resolution comes through the leader’s call to peace. I hope the welcome greeting eventually touches the angry woman. Prejudice is heavy armor; it restricts movement and disables the heart. Hate armor takes time to build and time to remove.

The video can be found at this link: Sikh Politician Gets Verbally Attacked and Handles Gracefully.

In our small Tuesday group, we pause to check our responses. What preconceived notions do we hold? What views are opinions, taught, not experienced? And not true.

Kites fly through gentle wind; their fabric fails during turbulence. I choose where to fly a metaphorical kite, and where to call for reinforcements.

In the meantime, my foot loses some of its discomfort under the ice. I can decide to pass along kindness with the examples of my friends—or, I can add to the turbulence with discontent.

Peace. Upon all. Whether our political views coincide. Or not.

In the meantime, I will fly into Europe and meet other people. And see other ways of knowing life. Hopefully, I will come back with fresh perspective. And just a little more understanding.

photo-shopped public domain pic

Read Full Post »

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The flower our beggar squirrel beheaded has replaced itself—threefold. I suspect what I thought was a sunflower gift is a weed, a wild sunflower. The plant’s leaves appear as worn as my septuagenarian skin. I photographed the whole plant anyway. The leaves are part of its reality. I wear flawed parts, too, like every other ephemeral life form.

I struggle to conquer uncertainty and borderless fears. My husband and I are traveling to Europe soon. On past trips, I have met people who have brightened my spirit. Nevertheless, the worry-pain I build-up feels like surgery without anesthesia.

I have the same sense of direction as an untethered balloon. Leave my familiar surroundings and I float wherever the wind takes me.

I imagine telling my husband, “Sweetie, I’m following you everywhere you go as we travel. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Um, even on my way to the men’s room?”

There may be a few problems with my plan. Maybe I’ll take everywhere out of my request. Superlatives such as everywhere, the greatest, the worst, and all, lose truth somewhere. Death is final, as far as I know, at least as far as my limited vision can see. The other side has only sent subtle hints, two or three pieces from a billion-piece more-than-I-can-fathom puzzle.

In the meantime, I study the weed in my front yard. Yellow. Green. Hints of brown. Sun. Shadow. And I wonder how one dull, broken stalk replaced one flower with three.

“Hey, girl!” I tell myself. “You’re taking a trip that frightens you because you know it’s worth the risk. Have a good time, and recognize the flowers among the weeds. Who knows what lies ahead?” I’m about to find out.

Read Full Post »

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”   (Kurt Vonnegut)

No point putting my socks back on—my feet are covered with sand—from my son’s backyard sandbox. Yes, this senior citizen has been playing with dump trucks and plastic buckets. I follow the lead of my favorite kindergartner, Dakota.

He asks about what kind of work both my husband and I have done, and what I do now.

I state as simply as possible the jobs we had in young-person language. “I write books now.”

“Sounds boring.” He rams a motorcycle over a sand ramp. A wheel falls off. He grins as he clicks it back on.

I suppose when an individual’s written vocabulary is limited to one and two-syllable words, it could be. My granddaughter Ella has been reading since she was four. Different interests.

But, I don’t say anything. I let his opinion stand and heap a plastic shovel of packed sand into the next project, a castle. The building lasts almost three seconds before Dakota smashes it and turns it into something else. Another truck obstacle.

At age six, the pretend world is always in progress.

Next, he introduces me to a new Wii game. I have no aptitude for sports in the tangible world. On the flat screen, my lack reaches a new low.

“Well, I guess you win again,” I say.

We are ready to go outside for more activity, and he takes my hand. A gentle gesture. Dakota is considerate. I mentioned once today as I swung an invisible baseball bat, that I was thirsty and he ran to get me water, with ice. He also wanted to wash dishes, but left the big knife for me. A smart decision.

By tomorrow, my at-home to-do list will be too long to fit on the side of a mile-long wall. Those tasks will wait. Today I spend time with a young gentleman who doesn’t care about what I can or what I can’t do. He knows I care a lot about him, and he cares a lot about me. We are family, and that is all that matters.

You are right, Mr. Vonnegut. If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

(photo-shopped public domain photo)

.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: