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Archive for December, 2017

angels three-dimensionI trust that everything happens for a reason, even when we’re not wise enough to see it. (Oprah Winfrey)

The same oh-so-bright Christmas song I heard ten minutes ago, plays on my car’s radio. In that recent-past moment I experienced gratitude—for my grandchildren, for a best friend 41-years-younger than I am, for a slowly healing foot. Long drives are uncomfortable, but the pain isn’t too bad on short sprints. I can and will accelerate as needed.

Now, I watch as a turkey vulture flees from an oncoming car, his carrion meal oozing red on the side of the road. His prey is no longer recognizable. While the bird waits to feast again, one Christmas song eases into another, no pause for outside world experiences. An ambulance passes through a busy intersection. A firetruck follows. A fender-bender a few blocks away stops traffic.

My life is not made of intangible sunshine and sweet carols. It isn’t eaten-up by darkness either. I meet a human angel now and then, generally when least expected.

Balance. Easy to say, not as simple to achieve. If I celebrated something else, Hanukkah, Kwanza, nothing, or another day alive, the challenges would be the same.

Peace upon all. Through all.

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boot and angel (2)_LIEmbrace the glorious mess that you are. (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Our angel fell from her Christmas tree perch last year. Several times. Jay and I referred to her as fallen. She couldn’t maintain a lofty position balanced on a wire stub with fake green needles attached. I can’t blame the angel. The treetop offered insufficient support. Her last dive cracked her plastic cone innards.

This year we replaced the fractured guardian with a similar angel. She too reigned lopsided. A younger family member set her straight with steady, understanding hands. Our girl has mechanical know-how. The current tree is smaller. However, I wonder if one angel didn’t recognize another, at least metaphorically.

Another metaphor appears at the bottom of my own being—a post-surgical orthopedic boot. A small mechanical can opener didn’t fall on my right foot. I dropped the darned thing. No cracked bones showed on an x-ray and I did not have surgery. However, my swollen foot needs protection. A regular shoe would be a vise-grip-pliers substitute.

I am a glorious mess. Nevertheless, I am alive.

A good, fun friend died recently. I talk to him in my thoughts, with no reply. At least on this side of time. For now, I celebrate the temporary rises and falls, the human frailties, the holes and fabric of lace woven from one day into another.

…From one perfectly imperfect, alive moment into the next. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Hanukkah. Or, simply celebrate being if holidays aren’t your thing.

May life bring beauty and joy into the everyday.

 

 

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ice storm January 20, 2012 (2)_LIWhatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Sunday morning. My husband and I celebrate at a different church. With special friends. The minister’s topic for the day combines science with awe. He speaks about the universe. In context with spirituality.

The back row, where we placed ourselves, has little significance compared to the vastness of space, the alignment of the planets, the statistical possibilities for life to exist. Yet, I embrace the moment. Beauty lives immersed in the ugly, the grand, and the ordinary.

This church community is friendly and welcoming. “Hi, I think I saw you here once before,” a woman says, “a while back.” Wow, what a memory. I came last year, maybe. And I will return. On another special day.

Bare trees display the uneven shapes of their branches, while the seasons shift in the same semi-predicted pattern. Known. Unknown. Meshing together.

I notice the shadow

of a branch on brown grass

as if bright-sun shadows

on ground were brand new.

Both spine and chin

live in the same body

yet never face one another.

One planted seed and one kindness

grow in time and

belong to another universe.

 

 

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fire (2)_LI

Keep yourself a stranger and pilgrim upon earth, to whom the affairs of this world are no concern. (Thomas Kempis)

Wednesday, November 22. Thanksgiving was hours, not days away, yet I imagined the duration as minutes instead. True, my focus seemed sincere: Organic preparation for family I love. Good thoughts about them as I measured flour or cut vegetables. And yet, a plentiful bounty wasn’t going to be the theme for this year. However, I didn’t know it. Yet.

In the afternoon I attended a meeting. How was our small church group going to present our Sunday celebration? The deep pink walls welcomed me. The third member of our team pulled a super-soft furry blanket over our legs. It broke the lingering outside chill.

I’ve always enjoyed Valerie’s house. Her husband’s painting on one wall attracted my attention. The honest white, brown, and tan winter scene seemed alive, the branches ready to sway.

We shared ideas. I’m always impressed by the intelligence of my comrades.

Hours later, after I’d tucked myself into an early bedtime, the phone rang. A member of our community notified our group about a fire, currently raging—at the house where I’d comfortably sat, before old wiring sparked a lightbulb change on the second floor, before it claimed their attic, before my perspective was about to take another turn.

“But, it can’t be on fire.” My thoughts ran wild. “I was just there a few hours ago.”

Sure, I sent positive vibes, also known as prayer. However, worry got in the way for far longer periods of time. What if? What now? Fear questions. Most of my energy remained bound inside my head and bed. Useless. I knew my friend who had warmed my legs earlier had come with her husband to help, immediately.

I was not prepared to see the calm on Valerie’s face on Sunday. She and her husband had lost almost everything. And yet—they had celebrated Thanksgiving. One precious moment at a time. His voice is naturally soft. Nevertheless, I heard every grateful word he said.

“As I watched the flames, I forced myself to think halleluiah.” Valerie’s words, as close as I can recall. No one had been harmed. The repair will be long and extensive.

These two wonderful people realize they are pilgrims on this earth. I am blessed to know them.

 

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