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Posts Tagged ‘determination’

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. (Lily Tomlin)

I perform everyday chores as if they were time tests. As soon as I sweep crumbs, more arrive. My frustration mounts. Time to delve into writing or art appears, and an emergency barges through.

Visits to a nursing home and a funeral change my course, speed, and perspective.

A friend suffers from a disease that stole his mind and body. He was a kind professor who taught English and speech. Now he writhes in torment. I want to help his wife and can only offer my arms and ears. Another friend died after fighting cancer. I hear her voice in my head and don’t want it to fade.

Marie and I sit together at the funeral. We observe both past and present. Long-term friendship with divine influence appears as we share. Now. Then. The confusing interim.

On the way home my phone’s directional app leads us south via a shorter route than the one we took north. We laugh as Marie drives through unfamiliar territory. An adventure based on trust. Eventually we will know where we are.

She knows my strengths and weaknesses. Directions fit into the latter. She smiles and assures me I can go anywhere. I have the tools. Her voice is soft yet reassuring.

Extending boundaries. A non-rat-race possibility. November has passed the center line. Both December and old age appear as expected. I see a reflection in the mirror that doesn’t match the one I recognize in my spirit. The person who dominates my dreams, day or night, doesn’t have an age. Sun fades in and out. Kindness exists in both.

I pray to respond to negative growls with prayer, to misunderstanding with patience. To ignorance with acceptance. As autumn fades into winter, may I find gifts inside chills. May all those who suffer find peace—through as many free-to-be-kind people as possible.

(Illustration is a water color painted at least twenty years ago.)

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Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in steering others. (Jacob M. Braude)

I have no idea how much my husband and I spent trying to save the blue spruce in our front yard. A service came regularly with botanical anti-fungal treatment until the cost of the treatment could have paid for the creation of a national park.

Needles turned brown and fell from branch to branch to ground. Huge gaps appeared as limbs died and were severed. The birds no longer had a place to hide and send out their morning songs.

The tree couldn’t maintain its status anymore. The sapling had been planted for our first son. He is now an adult, married with two daughters. The spruce had become part of our home and its past. Part of our sons’ history.

When asked which house we lived in, the answer came easily. “The one with the tree that is the front yard.”

I can’t control the life of a tree, the decisions of another person, or the whims of Mother Nature. Directing me is difficult enough. What I desire for the whole doesn’t happen by wishing, demanding, or sacrificing more than this old body has.

Hatred. Prejudice. The notion of us versus them. If only I could uproot these creature killers. Tear up the roots. Open eyes to see hearts, not superficial differences.

Peace. Planted one kind seed at a time. Without judgment. I pray that I can say to the angry, No, I don’t believe some people are better than others. But, since you also happen to be human, you are deserving of love. Now.

No, I can’t forgive with ease. Not yet. Still working on it.

Trees don’t reappear from stumps. Nevertheless, fresh planting creates possibilities. May good-will seeds create hope.

 

 

 

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It’s in those quiet little towns, at the edge of the world, that you will find the salt of the earth people who make you feel right at home. (Aaron Lauritsen, 100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road)

She hands me a five-dollar bill and I can’t think of any reason to refuse. The giver’s name isn’t necessary. She lives among the many who have more health-need expenses than income. “For Jay’s birthday present.”

I’ll think of some way to get the money back to her. In another form maybe. Although I need to admit the cash-concern is my problem, not hers. She gives because she is my friend. The salt-of-the-earth kind of acquaintance. The Matthew 5:13 variety. The kind who is entertained with a cup of coffee and background oldies music. And asks no more. “I’ll be your friend forever,” she says. I believe it.

Later that afternoon I glance around the neighborhood. The gentle couple next door. He cuts our grass and trims the edges. Both husband and wife watch our house when we aren’t home. Another couple, their friendly house on the corner—these two young persons have saved us more than they know.

Our little town. Inside a hostile world. Government crime and greed remain. I continue to work toward a better world for all. Yet, I’m not sure I would have the energy without companions who care on an everyday level. Thanks. May karma, the good kind, embrace you.

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Ah, how the seeds of cockiness blossom when soiled in ignorance. (Steve Alten)

DUBIOUS ADVICE

 

Take one opinion;

call it the whole.

Shout your words

with venom if necessary.

Cover your home,

your car, every space you touch

with bumper stickers, clever words,

succinct, biting,

so obvious, transparent,

you mimic a peacock flashing

your message across a zoo.

Then, well satisfied,

flick on the television,

curl up in your favorite chair,

or lie on a distant beach,

and revel in the comfort of your truth.

Relax, with food and wine within reach,

your part completed.

 

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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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(photo of the two children taken by Alice Zeiser)

I choose not to place DIS in my ability. (Robert M. Hensel)

Buddy Walk Day. The Saturday after Labor Day brings

A sea of shirts in bright colors. Yellow this year. Thousands.

One day without any uninformed person

dropping both eyes and mouth into parallel

frowns and an I’m-sorry. Down syndrome isn’t sad.

Apologies come after simple happenings.

Spilled water—nothing a napkin can’t handle,

or an it-took-me-forever-to-find-a-parking place.

Smiles follow. My granddaughter takes her cousin’s hand.

Or does he grab hers? It doesn’t matter.

This group knows we are all one.

And celebration comes naturally

when our common space is love.

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It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone. (Andy Rooney)

My vacuum cleaner and I have more in common than I like to admit. Two of my toes are bound together after a mishap in my living room, and the electrical cord on my vacuum cleaner is held together with enough tape to stock a hardware store.

The vacuum and I both wheeze around too much dust.

“Come on!” I call to it. “One more time over the shag carpet.”

As an inanimate object, its answer is a weak whirring sigh.

If I were asked to follow my double-jointed youngest granddaughter’s exercise routine, my sigh would be similar.

Older citizens have limitations. Physically. Not when it comes to a capacity for giving and caring. We can live locked inside our pain or despite it. My grandson calls me a wrinkled kid because I get down on the floor and play with him. Perfection isn’t required. Not when imagination fills in the gaps.

Imagination, hope, love—gifts inanimate objects don’t have as they age. I pray to continue to learn, to celebrate possibilities hidden inside each new crease.

 

 

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