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Archive for January, 2020

Listening to and understanding our inner sufferings will resolve most of the problems we encounter. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

An old black car with temporary tags sped up our street during Saturday night’s rain. Hit and run. My rear-view mirror is no longer facing the rear without the help of duct tape. The glass cracked but didn’t escape onto the road to puncture tires. My car’s left side has superficial wounds yet lacks an immune system. It won’t heal itself.

My husband and I were not home at the time. However, two neighbors witnessed the event. They chased the driver. Later they identified her. The next day a police report was filed with my neighbors’ help. I am humbled by their steadfast assistance.

“You are loved,” my daughter-in-law says. And I pause, aware of the goodness of my family. Friends. One of the witnesses I barely recognize. The other has assisted my husband and me many times.

Cecelia, my daughter-in-law, and I speak often. I am more than twice her age. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes I encourage her. Then we reverse roles. Ego isn’t the decider. Being the best of who we can be, is.

Sometimes, insides break open like the interior of this near-dead rear-view mirror. It’s complicated inside and needs protection. Not smooth, matching the meant-to-look-perfect whole. Time to face what is, not what I want it to be.

I think about this person who used the street as a speedway. And I can’t judge. Old. Young. Color. None of it matters. Besides, I don’t know the answer.

I pray she no longer needs to run. From whatever, to whatever. The messiness inside the whole. A job that isn’t mine. That doesn’t mean I can’t care enough to wish her well. In whatever way a blessed journey can lead.

 

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Men are not moved by things but by the views they take of them. (Epictetus)

A sunburst strikes the windshield of my car and I beg it to stay. Cleanse my thoughts. Highlight the good. Too many people want to believe the earth can’t be affected by poisons tossed into the air. A man who disrespects other people and nations is okay—for anything.

And yet, judgment of any individual is not my right.

The sudden sun-brightness doesn’t stay. It never does. Peace, right now? Maybe not. I discover only smiles of encouragement and the assurance that integrity is always in season. Perfection, not as much. The bottom photos lean. May time help them. Direction isn’t the issue: peace is.

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If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient.
It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear. (A. A. Milne, Winnie-The-Pooh)

Sometimes a sigh says more than a paragraph can. Kim, a YMCA employee, tells Jay and me not to give up. We’ve come this far. I can’t speak for my husband, but I have more than fluff in my ear. Both ears, my knees, back, and hair follicles feel impaired. How long have Jay and I been on the phone with our insurance company anyway? Trying to get some number-code, one we didn’t know we needed for a new benefit. Exercise for older folk.

Jay says we have been in limbo for an hour. Including transfers, wrong departments, and a disconnected line. We can join the Silvers Sneakers Program, for free. However, we have only been given partial information regarding the how-to. Not enough to get us started.

I am ready to bolt. Go home. Clean the toilet. Scrub the trash can with an old toothbrush. Empty the leaves from the yard, one at a time. Anything would be a better use of the day.

Then Niecey appears. A tall, attractive, dark woman who doesn’t look old enough to be eligible for Silver Sneakers. She has just finished her registration. She offers to help. We abandon the phone for the Internet. Within minutes the task is completed. *

Kim appears ecstatic, as if we had joined her family. Personally. “See. It was worth it. Thank God!” We join in a half-sung halleluiah.

Patience. Thy name is not Terry. Irritation could fit better. An overall distrust for systems, of almost any kind. Time to choose a different perspective. Not simply because a problem has been solved, but because good people in the world exist. I have a choice—to celebrate the presence of angels or get lost in memories of miscommunications. A sure slide into bitterness.

Kim’s smile reveals an inner glow. Her tight black curls seem to dance as she hugs me.

How long can I hold onto the kindness of cherubs—envision it with the same eyes that view continuous, ugly news events? I don’t know. But kindness is worth the brain cell use. For as long as I keep the fluff out of my ears.

 

*Maybe this help link could be beneficial for general information about the insurance benefit. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer.

 

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Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life. (Shannon L. Alder)

The summer of 1963. I’m at a journalism workshop in Detroit to prepare for a position on my high school magazine. And I have a date. Other pre-seniors, a group of at least six, give advice about makeup.

“More eyebrow pencil. They look pale. Lost.”

A description of how I felt. Strange. I had a date. With a guy I’d just met. Not the love of my life, but someone who would introduce me to a fancy restaurant and frog legs. Yet my memory of the moment says I wasn’t enough.

Today I look in the mirror and see one red, irritated eye. The itching is a unique form of torture and I am grateful for antibiotic drops. Pink eye is temporary. Human frailties are not.

I have survived adolescence by now. However, what is this thing in me that says rest must be limited? Does laundry really need to be done, now? I need to type even when the letters could be more fog than print. I take a break, a short one. Maybe not-good-enough has morphed through the years. Soothed with action.

The new year begins. May I remain open to change, especially if it doesn’t seem easy. Time to focus on the real. And grow inside both joy and turmoil.

 

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