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Posts Tagged ‘determination’

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

A limping dog blocks traffic as he fights to get to roadkill, the dead animal no longer recognizable. At an exercise class two people share difficult places in their lives with me. The news blasts one horror story after another.

The May sun shines on all. I just had another birthday. Another beginning. A step forward.

My glasses are adequate, barely, during the daytime. At least until after cataract surgery I avoid driving at night. Hearing aids help if I want to hear the phone, a conversation, opportunities to learn or give.

However, sweet, bitter, and sour affect everyone—and everything. All I need to do is listen to other people’s stories. And see their sharing as a gift.

One step, to embrace this moment. The whole staircase? Mine is cluttered now. No way can I clear it all at once.

May there be adventure and serendipity along the way. May we find peace together. By seeing one another as individuals, by listening. Heart and ears wide open.

 

 

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It is very important to know who you are. To make decisions. To show who you are. (Malala Yousafzai)

 

With a little watering my amaryllis grew long stems. How? Not only can I barely tell the difference between a cactus and a rose, my botany-world confidence dies with a first-planted seed. The amaryllis bulb was a gift. However, a bloom hasn’t appeared. Yet.

The house, friends, family, writing, an impossible agenda keep me more than busy. I stop and ask: How important are my plants to me? I don’t like the answer. Plants fit in my should-be category.

Perhaps, on some level, the flower in the only-pot-I-could-find realizes that the occasional sips it receives are token, like the required stamp on a mailed envelope, or a mind-free entry code.

One minor adjustment in my approach—it may bring a flower—or not. The drink I pour into the pot can become a gift, a symbol, an intentional moment. Water for one form of life. Water for me.

One minor change can let me know who I am.

Life, as imperfect as it is, shared. This moment. Somehow made holy.

 

 

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If I don’t ask “Why me?” after my victories, I cannot ask “Why me?” after my setbacks and disasters. ( Arthur Ashe )

As usual, I’m multitasking, poorly. The image of sweeping the beach at low tide hits me. The tide comes in before I’ve put the broom back in the closet. A missing cell phone. A forgotten load of wash—from last night waiting to be spun. My husband’s TED hose soaking in the sink. I wonder how fast I can dry them. He needs them now.

The phone rings. Shannon asks how I am and then says she has good news. She is getting a new kidney. Today. At 1:30.

Wow! Shannon has been alive because dialysis has been giving her some good days.

Shortly after the designated gift of life is expected, she calls again. The match is not as complete as it is supposed to be. I hold my breath. She remains calm.

“I’m still at the top of the list.”

The top of the list. The top of the transplant list. She sees blessings despite big-time disappointment.

Top-of-the-list for a transplant means imminent need. Yet, Shannon wastes no time with why-me.

The tide of confusion continues inside the house. It will end. Eventually. In the meantime, sun reaches through the window. Hope arrives. Her name is Shannon Owens.

 

 

 

 

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Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. (Flannery O’Connor)

I insert hearing aid number two and notice an immediate change. The refrigerator hums. My husband’s voice adds a decibel—or three hundred. A car coming down the street exceeds the speed limit. I don’t need to see the vehicle to know. It needs a muffler.

Apparently, I am supposed to be learning how to hear. A peculiar notion. Older hearing aids amplified sound. Newer equipment allows for variations in background sound and volume.

I understand the concept of learning to listen, however. After a while, the hard-of-hearing individual retreats. There are only so many times a person can ask for something to be repeated. And what-are-you-talking-about can only be asked a limited number of times.

My mission: hear the birds, the wind, the radio in the background, and sort the sounds out from the telephone and my husband’s question about what is for dinner.

Studies show hearing loss can lead to dementia. Sure, I often wonder why I came into a room. I have not yet reached, who am I or whose house this is?          

Example of one of my off-the-wall conversations. This one is partially fiction, but typical:

                “Did you bring the de—-?” Garbled sounds come from my comrade’s mouth.

                “The what?” I ask.

        The answer sounds like de followed by a stifled sneeze. He continues to speak, so I’m not sure how much I missed.

                “Bring the what? Demolition?” I close one eye and tilt my head. “Details? Desk?”

                “Uh, no. The dessert! The one you spent hours making!”

                “Oh yeah. Got it.”

Today I go for my third hearing-comprehension check.

“I see you have only been wearing your hearing aids four to five hours a day,” my technician says as he looks at his all-knowing screen connected to the wiring in my ears.

“Huh? Four to five…?” I think about it. Those times I went to the Y pool and forgot to put my artificial ears back in when I came home. The times I did housework or edits first and remembered hours later… Uh, yeah, could be.

Truth, it’s got me.

“See you in a month,” my expert says.

I wonder if I’ll be any smarter in a louder world.

For anyone else who fights a similar battle, you are not alone!

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After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one. (Cato the Elder)

Sometimes a story needs to be told anonymously because it could create unnecessary fuss when names are introduced. Especially when fault isn’t the point. A good friend of mine was kicked in the chest at work—by someone who was too mentally challenged to understand anything but an immediate angry reaction. This individual had nothing against my friend.

She was asked if she would return on Monday. She didn’t pause. “Of course.”

She understood what measures needed to be taken to prevent another scene. She lives compassion for others. She knows instinctively what her charge needs and what creates fear.

Angels appear in jeans and gym shoes more often than glowing gowns and wings. Folk don’t hide from people in ordinary clothing; heavenly appearances tend to be a tad freaky.

Thankfully, goodness can be as close as a next-door-neighbor or family and friends who show up when needed most.

Simple love. It looks easy-smooth on the outside but is more precious than jewels locked behind glass. Nonjudgmental love can’t be assessed.

It can be appreciated. Evil hasn’t won yet and won’t provided some good-all-the-way-through folk continue to be who they are.

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The large cat doesn’t deter one small robin.

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer. (Douglas Adams, author Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

I am at a small prayer gathering. Something hits the window behind me. I can’t see it but know what is happening. My friend, Pat, has already warned me not to jump, startled. Kamikaze Robin has returned.

This is one determined bird, admirable if he weren’t shortening his lifespan with each strike. Is he developing internal bleeding? Is this how the term bird-brain began? Studies have shown birds know more than their brain size would suggest. However, birds fight one another in a mismatched fight. More bravado than self-protection.

“What is he doing?” I turn around after his next strike.

Our small group has no idea. There is no point in asking. None of us speak robin.

Robin, pausing between strikes

One article, researched later, gives me a notion. However, I can’t always understand my own motivation much less the plant-loving, territorial drive of the avian population. (The highlighted link provides a few suggestions.)

For me, I refuse to answer a question about someone else’s behavior because I don’t live inside that person’s skull. After learning a few traits, past experiences, present habits, I get a clue. Not X-ray vision into complicated brain structure and memories.

A few days after the bird incident, at the Y, a young woman doesn’t answer when I talk to her. She isn’t aloof; she’s legally deaf. “I read lips well,” she tells me. We speak, and I feel blessed to learn more about her life. She lost her hearing in the navy. She served twelve years.

The class begins. I smile as I watch her follow the instructor.  She is a survivor.

I don’t know what has happened to the robin. He hasn’t penetrated the window. But then, I haven’t accomplished any of my impossible dreams either.

 

 

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I dwell in possibility… (Emily Dickinson)

As I sweep the kitchen floor my head sweeps through thoughts about something tinier than dust particles. The article I am reading in National Geographic says an ape’s DNA is 99% the same as a human being’s DNA. And the pages expand into names for genes. Specific numbers. Symbols for magnificent, infinitesimal differences.

And possibilities.

The facts debunk the notion that race is any more significant than skin color. I live in an integrated community. Move? Not after 43 years. With neighbors willing to help my husband and me, obviously older folks. What shade is their skin? Anywhere from peach to ebony.

A wave across the street. A hug. Come by for coffee. My husband may offer a beer. If only I could transport the experience to other parts of this country. Sometimes I don’t realize how blessed I am.

Do I see their different colors? Of course. The same way I see the color of the tulips before the deer eat them, the variations of color inside my husband’s favorite Columbine in spring. Depths both inside and outside.

Possibilities? There are many.

I vote for peace.

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