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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age. (Christopher Morley)

I drive a familiar route. As rain fills both left and right curb lanes, light shines from within gold and crimson trees.

Sour acid threatens my gut and spirit. Fracturing news events race through my mind. Hatred, racism, greed, voter suppression…why? The trees remind me of beauty from within. Don’t give up.

I stop at the grocery store. My cart is filled with perishable basics after a trip to visit family out of town. None of the fifteen-or-less-items lines are open, better called fifteen-or-fewer-items stations. I need more time to think, to settle thoughts aligned with negative trends. I allow two customers with mini orders ahead of me.

A store employee places a huge pot of mums into my cart. “Would you like these? They are free.”

Obviously, she has no idea how poor my botanical skills are. I suspect kudzu or poison ivy would grow under my care, but those pesky plants are self-motivated.

Nevertheless, I except the gift. True, this is the end of the season in the Midwest. Flowering plants bloom only a few months before cold takes over. The store is getting rid of old, perishable merchandise. However, this pot of flowers contains beautiful, living merchandise.

Treasured happy moments. Holding on to seeds that spill possibilities from aging flowers. The seeds create. Eventually. Mums are perennials. Winter ends.

Old age comes. But it doesn’t negate the life that existed and exists now, or the effort made toward creating a better world—even if it involves no more than a few planted seeds.

 

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Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Six-thirty AM. Election Day, November 6, 2018. My husband and I are newbie volunteers outside the polls. Time to make our first mistakes. We have no idea where the entry for voting could be in this huge building. No flag. No signs. A long-time voter at this location, leads the way. We park our chairs 98 feet too close to the site. A poll worker points out the 100-foot mark. We move. Quickly.

No light in the sky and we are in the dark as well. Temporarily.

We meet Duane Morgan. She is the third part of our team, the all-day volunteer. She is new at this work, too. However, she transforms the parallel don’t-know-what-to-do lines Jay and I bring, into a workable triangle. She delivers the inspiration.

In the past few weeks I spent entirely too much time worrying about cold, wind, rain, storm. Duane is a two-time cancer survivor. Her son was murdered. Nevertheless, her eyes sparkle with an inner glow; the predawn darkness can’t diminish her spirit or faith. The rich brown of her skin is beautiful. It hides her age. She is six years older than I am. Yet, her energy exceeds mine. Perhaps she has overcome useless worry as well.

Today’s forecast included thunder and lightning. The oh-so-important plastic poncho I had to buy waits in the car. An unexpected gift of sun alternates with wind. An even greater gift appears as Red and Blue speak, human to human.

Lonnie is a young, well-educated Republican. We talk to one another, civilly. As friends. I don’t know his last name. Yet. I learn that he, like Duane, is a survivor. He was born with a heart defect. Recently, he had heart surgery. It has not stopped him from running, not only for office, but on the streets.

My stand on human rights, the need for accessible health care, and recognizing skin color as a human accessory hasn’t changed. If only…if only…we could work in peace.

 

 

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Try to see things differently – It’s the only way to get a clearer perspective on the world and on your life. (Neal Shusterman)

Laundry waits inside a plastic, easily opened hamper. If it were viewed by the privileged, it would be dismissed, seen as mundane, too common to be noticed.

If it were given to a group with nothing, the people would open the lid and stare inside. They would gather and empty the contents. Find a use for every fiber.

It belongs to me. I take it for granted. Wash and dry. Watch the time as if I owned each minute.

Friends and I talk. I listen. We see life differently. Together, we cleanse one another’s thinking. Peace, please.

 

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“Okay, my pen was here a minute ago.”

Life is an irritation. (Anatoly Karpov, chess master)

Our tech-friendly, easy-clean, comfortable recliner couch has found a way to annoy my husband and me.

It grabs cell phones, the remote control, important papers, and occasionally a container of dental floss. It slides them into cushion crevices or onto the floor, preferably inside well-shaded, flashlight-shy areas.

As we pull out the couch to retrieve the stolen items, plugs to the mechanical parts pull out from the wall.

As we sit, the comfy cushions caress us and widen the spaces between one beige square and another. The furniture isn’t prepared for two adults and an avalanche of items operated by arthritic fingers.

How easily I get stuck in broken places and forget the beauty of what I have—forget sun and crawl into shadow. In today’s argumentative atmosphere, anxiety fills the air like dust particles.

No perfect answer. Real life refuses to fit inside a fortune cookie. It refuses to see what is good, sincere, truthful.

I think I’ll check one more time and see if I can find perspective. In a moment of meditation, in intentionally focusing on large and small examples of kindness. Balance is rarely obvious but present. I wouldn’t know what goodness and truth were if I hadn’t experienced it. Touched it. Shared it. With someone who cared about integrity.

In this incredibly imperfect world, peace to all.

 

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Human pain does not let go of its grip at one point in time. Rather, it works its way out of our consciousness over time. There is a season of sadness. A season of anger. A season of tranquility. A season of hope. (Robert Veninga)

In my Star League Chronicles stories, textbooks open into three-dimensional realities. Therefore, in my created fantasy world, history isn’t written from the point of view of the victor or patriot; it comes from the individuals who lived it. Thoroughly. In any Star League subject, the characters physically rise from the pages. And they carry on dialogue.

The real world, unfortunately, isn’t always that honest.

However, when my husband and I visited Berlin, we touched the places where death and destruction took place. Both the German government and citizens admit the past, what they learned from it. I chose to absorb both the beauty and the pain—not to live in a past I never experienced—but to acknowledge truth.

Today, as I stand, walk, and drive in sunshine I ask the brightness to add perspective to the darkness that fills the current political scene. Recent events trigger both sadness and anger. They threaten possibilities of hope and tranquility.

Blue sky touches the horizon. An intangible space. It can’t be owned. I see it, know the blue comes from the sun’s rays refracted through the earth’s atmosphere. The blue fades. Gray takes its place.

Comments on the horrors of today, abound. In an endless loop. Simple survivor skills? Writing helps me, so do my husband’s loving backrubs, as well as a few minutes messaging a friend who happens to be less than half my age.


Age and time. Perhaps they are no longer issues. May I seek integrity and the ability to get up again. And again. To all those who value truth, let’s live what we want to see—even if no one seems to follow. Yet. No. The sky isn’t falling. It just feels that way.

Coping skills? Sharing accepted. And thanks.

 

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To the soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship. (Thomas Moore)

Hey, worn lock! Come on. Open.

This gosh-darned door won’t budge without a fight. The wood is old and swollen. The screws wobble like poor-fitting dentures. This door probably has been locked and unlocked, opened and closed, since the house was built, nineteen years before we made it our family home in 1976.

I anthropomorphize the door’s response as I push. It answers, No. Enough. I’m on strike.

My husband has more muscle. The door opens with a low, ouch.

A temporary fix now holds the assembly together—with a less-than-professional-but-works repair.

I think about my own that-is-enough responses. Turn off disturbing world news chatter. Take a break from speed editing marred with self-criticism. Slow down on the marathon cleaning. Pause the fear button. Begin again. And again. And again.

So often I think perfect is expected. Even though it doesn’t last longer than a sneeze. A friend’s smile keeps me trying longer for more important goals. The goodness of others also triggers gratitude.

How many wonderful people have been welcomed at my front door? I’ve lost count. Because the number doesn’t matter. The ages of entranceway guests don’t matter either. Friendship heals.

May my door continue to open to what can be. No matter how old its hinges may be. (Mine either.)

 

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Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied. (Pearl Buck)

More than a half-century ago I remember walking home from a day of bullying in fourth grade. I silently prayed to become a saint, the only survival-answer possible to a child born in an ultra-Catholic environment.

Saints fit so ego-free into pages of old books. Little dialogue necessary. No smiles or frowns. They wore halos without alterations. I remembered a story about St. Lawrence, burned on something like a barbecue grill. “Turn me over. I’m done on this side.”

Darn. I wondered what I was going to have to do. With my red-hair, sunburn had caused enough suffering.

Perfection never arrived. Yet, somehow on those book-laden, ego-smashed walks I found beauty in the clouds, the shapes of rocks. Words to describe nature appeared, stories, a rich imagination, a gift given instead of some lofty grownup concept.

The next day always appeared in full ugliness. My parents expected me to combat the world with the ten commandments; the advice remained in sterile print with no feedback. I was on my own.

One day a neighbor on a parallel street smiled at me. She knew who I was. “You have a long way to walk,” she told me. “You can cut through my yard.”

A small gift. The neighbor across the street from my house saw me crossing his yard and called out a hello. “Hello,” I called back, my grin causing his to grow larger.

Two syllables. They beat burning on a barbecue grill any day. I could do that. Maybe not at school. But, I could in my own neighborhood. A beginning…

 

 

 

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