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Posts Tagged ‘Buddha quote’

If we fail to look after others when they need help, who will look after us? (Buddha)

Pool water makes movement easier. Jump and kick higher. Play like a kid.

I make eye contact with others in class who find the same freeing mood.

One lady, somewhat younger than I am, splashes and laughs as she plunges through. “My fat doesn’t protect me from the cold.”

A shine in her dark brown eyes, contrasting pale skin, radiates positive attitude. At the end of class I introduce myself. Stories about my grandchildren. My books, The Curse Under the Freckles and Stinky, Rotten Threats. She tells me about her family.

“I’ve never met a writer.” She reaches out and touches my hand. “I can’t read. I’d need a dictionary to spell no. Dyslexic.”

And yet I can’t move from her spell, the enchanting kind. She speaks of a deep faith. A different style than I understand. I don’t knock what works. The divine appears in multiple forms.

She’s worked as a cleaning lady for the wealthy. “Don’t come back if there is one dust ball in my bathroom,” one rich woman had said. This gentle cleaning lady understood the metaphor, the implied identity of the dust ball. She chose not to come back.

Days later I remember her, a power she carried. Perspective. The love she had for her husband who died eight years ago. He was a minister in her faith.

Problems appear in my life. Again. They always will. I see both solutions and losses. Neither affect personal worth. Or love from family.

The pool water washed away in a shower days ago. And yet, the touch of one ordinary woman’s hand remains with me. I pray to offer the same.

 

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You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Perhaps I have too much chaos within me because I feel crowded in water aerobics class—actually there are only about twelve participants. Not exactly a mob. But the instructor directs us to continuously travel back and forth. The possibility of bumping into someone seems high to me.

My energy feels almost electric. I’m more than busy at the moment with babysitting duties and preparing for a newly published book to appear. In the water that electricity seems dangerous even if it is only a metaphor. So I swim into the deeper water and tread through the moves. I love the feel of suspending. And I see another benefit: a tall friend is here today. She buoys me with her spirit.

She and I look as different as a mountain and a valley. I need to stand on a step stool to get sufficient pressure at the locker’s swimsuit spinner. At six-foot tall she is at the deeper end of the indoor pool, but doesn’t need to kick to stay afloat. I look up to her physically—and as a person.

This lady talks about her dedication to family with the same offhandedness a person would use when counting loads of laundry. She gives because the need is there. She is not aware of her own beauty.

As we talk I sense similar teen experiences. When adolescence hit I would have pronounced angst with an accent on every letter if sharing feelings had been permitted in my home. Since they were not, the not-good-enough notion imploded and almost destroyed my spirit. Changing that attitude has taken time and effort. But I don’t regret the past. Because of it I am less likely to judge someone else. I also have  a storehouse of great fictional characters, all based on a confused, normal young girl—me.

My friend shares a current difficulty she is facing. It sounds familiar. She has a family member in hospice. Cookie-cutter supportive care doesn’t work for everyone. Sure, it would be great if so-and-so would play the let’s-have-fun-while-we-can game. But, sometimes the individual wouldn’t have played when he or she was twenty-three.

Later, I see my giving friend helping someone else. Her gift delays her departure when I know she has other tasks to perform, a long agenda for the day. I would like to give more details about that moment, but don’t want to break this woman’s anonymity.

Instead, I simply shout-out thanks into the electronic universe and hope treading water with her has brought some positive energy into me. I am thinking about her now with the hope that my words serve as a mirror reflecting the goodness I see.

It is contagious, in a positive way.

garland of beautiful deeds

 

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Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. (Buddha) 

Ella’s daddy wants her to have a nap today. The stitches on her chest became infected. They had to be surgically repaired last week. She needs to catch up on her sleep and recover. Ella, however, has a different plan. I lie down next to her because we don’t have a bed for her. Napping at our house is not part of time-with-grandparents routine.

I had told her it was time to sleep and she told me it wasn’t dark out.

“Nap, Ella, not nighttime.”

She grins. I know what tactic she is forming so I open the book we just got from the library and begin to read. She decides she wants to tell the story.

This is a ploy, but I want to hear her version. She flips the pages back and forth and makes faces at me. Yep, I was right. Our granddaughter wants me to laugh, actually outright giggle. This will stop the possibility of sleep in the middle of a perfectly good day for play.

Oh, why was I made out of malleable wet sand when it comes to my grandchildren? I try to keep my lips set into a serious straight line, something like holding back the water from a burst pipe with a paper bag.

“Okay, sleep time,” I say.

“Night, night, Mawmaw,” Ella says, at least a hundred times—in different tones. “I love you,” she finally says.

“I love you, too,” I respond.

Then she makes a tent of the book over my face. I finally laugh. She has won. She giggles and I want to hug her forever.

You are ornery and sneaky, little girl, I think. But I wouldn’t change anything about you—even if I could.

“Uh, the nap was a bust,” I tell my husband and see disappointment in his face. We didn’t follow instructions. Okay, I didn’t follow directions. But they required willingness from another participant who didn’t want to miss one minute of the day.

I am so glad Ella’s heart is now working properly. Her spirit has always shone, even with a blocked valve, and her ability to find contentment in the simple inspires me.

Chances are I won’t seek employment as chief disciplinarian anywhere. This story wouldn’t fit well in the resume. But the position of Grandma, also known as Mawmaw, works just fine for now.

Actually, I feel somewhat honored.

listen to your heart

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