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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

 

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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Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.
At other times, it is allowing another to take yours. (
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)

A fall at some unknown moment severed Hummel boy-doctor’s hand. A Hummel girl has dropped her prize flower, a similar injury since all parts of the artwork are made as one. I am not experienced in ceramic or porcelain surgery. Boy and Girl are permanently scarred by amateur super-glue procedures. A lot of warm, soapy water keep my fingers from bonding together faster than my patients can.

Neither figure complains. Inside they are hollow. Most Internet searches refer to a Hummel’s monetary value. They don’t mention their history.

Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel’s 1930’s drawings were the inspiration for the porcelain art, postcard drawings of children in Germany and Switzerland. A simple beginning for beautiful, innocent designs.

Franz Goebel acquired rites to make the figurines in 1935. World War II made them popular exports.

The pictured cracked pieces belonged to my husband’s grandmother. While I am pleased to own them, they are things. Relationships are far more valuable.

People scars may or may not show. When someone is willing to share with me a significant hurt or loss, I feel honored. That person trusts me. My ears may need battery-operated amplification to work, but my heart works fine—provided I keep it open long enough.

In casual meetings folk ask one another, how are you? They answer, “Hanging in there.” Then they walk away. A single-phrase answer is enough. Taking another’s hand asks more, even if a situation can never be healed.

I don’t know enough to fix my own problems much less someone else’s life. However, a smile into the soul verifies worthiness. At one time or another, we all seem to need to be reassured!

I am thinking about changing my how-are-you to good-to-see-you, or a simple smile and wave. Hanging-in-there answers leave too much unsaid.  

Peace, and may broken and glued places sparkle in sunlight.

 

 

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Soaked shoes on a warm register take the shape of a wild cloud on a gray day.

Little by little, one travels far. (J. R. R. Tolkien)

Day by day, the toddler grows into an adult. One word at a time the child learns self-worth, or not.

Little by little, backed-up storm water travels in wider circles from our driveway into our garage. I realize our problem is trivial. The clips of the flood damage in Nebraska provide enough evidence to prove our labor is minimal. We succeed. My husband and I discovered the ankle-deep water before it reached the basement or lawn mower. The car was outside, wheels untouched.

My shoes dry on a warm register inside. Muddied socks already swirl through suds in the wash machine—healing.

I don’t claim an immunity to tragedy. Nor did I miss near drowning, in a metaphorical sense. Many years ago, March 17 began one of the most difficult times of my life. Do I remember every detail? Not all, but more than I would like. All unnecessary to repeat. Each life’s purpose is to live in today. Eventually. Many people reading these words have their own memories to overcome. Ugly events arrive. They also pass, like the dark, dirty water my husband and I move toward an overwhelmed drain.

My husband and I work, together. I don’t believe any recovery happens alone.

Without friends.

Without help in some form.

Perhaps one struggling person will come to my mind today, someone who could use a call or a visit.

A thought. Perhaps now is the time to follow through on it.

Little by little…recovery happens. And one travels far.

 

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Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods. (Aristotle)

Ann and I share peanut butter sandwiches and listen to music. We sing along and fake the lyrics. It doesn’t matter whether we know the words or not. The sky promises rain. Inside we celebrate sun. Ann couldn’t see blue if it did suddenly break through unexpectedly. My friend is blind. Her eyes don’t work; her heart-vision does.

She often takes an Access bus to visit a friend in a nursing home. It cheers him up.

“How long can you stay?” I ask.

“What do you need to do today?” she answers. “I don’t want to overstay my welcome.”

The kitchen floor needs a scrub. I have edits. Always. However, I suspect I need the presence of a friend. A shared awareness of a moment that exists now and won’t return.

Ann has the uncanny knack of knowing how I really feel. The last time we were together I’d been upset, and she sensed it. Today is better. We celebrate in simple ways. I could wear a shirt one tear away from the rag bag; she wouldn’t know, or care. She cherishes more lasting values. Who a person is, an ability to give, to care.

The television is off. I’ll face the world scene later. After I accept the fact that both good and evil exist.

Ann and I blast out the words we recognize in old songs and hum when the lyrics don’t get through to our hearing aids.

“I’ll be your friend forever,” she says.

Forever is more than I can grasp. A lot has happened since time began. However, Aristotle was onto something centuries ago. Friendship has tangible value.

May you always have friends you can trust.

 

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Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out—it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. (Robert Service, writer)

I’m ready to start editing, eyes on the computer, coffee cup in my hand. And I set the cup on the pull-out board of my old desk—right smack on top of a pen. Gravity wins. Every thought I had falls out with the hot liquid, onto the floor and rug. Time to wash a load of caffeine-soaked rags.

An unplanned cleanup becomes the metaphorical grain of sand in my shoes, the shoes I’m not wearing yet. Sunrise is fresh and I’ve already drowned the day in spilled coffee. Far from an important event, but I can turn it into an omen. Easily.

Time to brainstorm some perspective. Random fun memories for starters. When the memory occurred doesn’t matter:

A granddaughter at play. She introduces herself as the teacher, Mrs. Tushman. Mrs. Man for short…

My grandson’s huge brown eyes and his turn as pilot. “We’re flying 20 miles and it will take 20 hours…”

Years ago, my parents gathered my siblings and me into the car. We were going somewhere. It could have been a trip to a park. It could have been a trip for ice cream.  The fun came with the surprise. The smell of popcorn! It’s a drive-in movie.

I smile. The splattered area is relatively dry.

I consider simple signs of love that have happened within the past 24 hours:

A thank-you note from my friend, Liz. We haven’t seen one another for years. Our friendship is rekindling.

My husband’s words, “Wait, I’ll do that!” as I carry dishes from the table to the sink.

Countless opportunities to give back. Someone could use a reach-out call from me right now.

I’d like to think that the next time I get in my own way I will be instantly forgiving. Probably not. Besides, the mountain ahead remains ahead.

Companions appear along the way. However, the climber needs to grasp each rock to succeed.

I didn’t really need another cup of jitters anyway.

 

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If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. (James Herriot)

My friend is holding back her dog Hosea as I enter her house for a meeting. Hosea knew I was arriving as soon as I parked my car across the street. I am his playmate. At one time I would not have considered petting a dog or cat—not unless I wanted to wheeze, sneeze, or itch.

Sometimes I envy Bobby, another friend’s dog. Bobby is a gentle giant. He has a head the size of the average bear and a heart that is even larger. Time to play, time to play, his tail announces. And I wish I could translate dog barks.

Hahvey and Oui, my sister’s cats, have different personalities. Hahvey greets and expects the first pet. Oui waits it out and makes sure each human is safe first. Yet, the two felines understand one another. They rule the house, exactly as cat-rule demands.

As I’ve gained years my allergies have changed. Furs carry less of a threat. Atmospheric conditions? Well, they will cause even larger problems, for everyone, eventually. My days of allergic reaction are only a fraction of what global instability will eventually trigger. The atmosphere can’t hold much more carbon dioxide.

The animal world didn’t create the imbalance. It didn’t leak oil into the ocean or pollute the air.

Perhaps I focus on animal intelligence because human intelligence has been less responsible. Global warming. Yes, it exists.

In the time the earth has left, I choose to fight for what can be done to extend her life, and at the same time to love with the simplicity of the pets we know. The two can be compatible. And, hopefully worthwhile.

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