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Posts Tagged ‘experience’

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it. (Charles de Lint, writer)

If there are spills on the kitchen floor and crumbs on the carpet during the next few days, I know who did it. Moi. Jay is spending some quality time with his siblings. I chose a quiet retreat pace—if three magazines and two books in bed qualify as embracing-the-simple.

Since I’m not a speed reader, chances are I haven’t exactly created a quiet one-thing-at-a-time retreat pace. My expectations usually include a ridiculous amount of multitasking, using unfocused brain synapses.

I am a writer, one who takes two steps backward and one forward. Today, reverse seems to be the primary gear. I have managed half a paragraph in two hours. The backspace key is getting most of the action.

The phone rings. My youngest granddaughter, Ella, is on the line. “Want to go to the library with me today?” The answer is a no-brainer. Grandma mode is simpler. It requires love. Word order doesn’t take a lot of thought on the grandparent path. I love you is adequate communication. No editing necessary.

Time to drive—through the rain and into the arms of a child.

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winter through the screen (2)_LI

All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart. (Tahereh Mafi)

Snow. A four-letter word. Not in a vulgar, but in a testy sense. Nevertheless, I know I’m blessed as I feel and hear warm air rise from the furnace. My husband kept a thick, warm coat in the back seat of the car until we saw a homeless man who could use it. Socks next maybe. Some packaged food…

Inside the house I wheeze. Yet, I have the medications necessary to recover. Outside, who knows how long I would last?

A cardinal stops to snack at the birdfeeder. A squirrel gorges on the feed. I look at my belly and suspect I have more in common with the squirrel.

The snow melts and then promises to appear again. Need never melts completely. However, compassion isn’t a job; it’s a way of life. 

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hands united (3)_LI“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains.” (Anne Frank)

Chaos reigns in national news. I blush when I consider how the American citizen appears to people in other countries—if certain groups remain the example. To be the greatest country means to be an instrument for peace—for all. However, greatness requires an emphasis on action, not boasts.

I applaud the many people who speak out, especially those who manage to point out wrongs without including pejorative and prejudicial terms. Or profanity. Without tossing hatred at hatred. Fire never puts out fire.

When I hear the ugly on TV, I groan. Of course, I react! The challenge comes with opportunities to magnify a horrified response: Bullied calls to war. Refusals to notice hurricane victims not in the continental US. Religion without acceptance of different nations and people.

However, there is nothing simple about choosing what is sometimes called a higher road. There are no quick solutions or instant gratifications along its path. I’ve fallen from a metaphorical mountain bridge now and then.

Fortunately, along the road again I find friends, incredible friends. We share how we think and feel, honestly. And, we speak “…the beauty that still remains.”

One of these friends told a story of a small boy who practiced his one line in a Christmas pageant. As innkeeper he needed to tell Joseph and Mary there was no room in the inn. However, when he saw his classmates and looked in their eyes, he couldn’t follow through. He said, “Come on in…” I don’t know how the play ended. I can only wish.

My wish for the world? Anne Frank pointed out beauty. It could not save her, but it exists. Inside anyone who notices. For the human-race, may all divisions merge. Into possibilities.

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boot and angel (2)_LIEmbrace the glorious mess that you are. (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Our angel fell from her Christmas tree perch last year. Several times. Jay and I referred to her as fallen. She couldn’t maintain a lofty position balanced on a wire stub with fake green needles attached. I can’t blame the angel. The treetop offered insufficient support. Her last dive cracked her plastic cone innards.

This year we replaced the fractured guardian with a similar angel. She too reigned lopsided. A younger family member set her straight with steady, understanding hands. Our girl has mechanical know-how. The current tree is smaller. However, I wonder if one angel didn’t recognize another, at least metaphorically.

Another metaphor appears at the bottom of my own being—a post-surgical orthopedic boot. A small mechanical can opener didn’t fall on my right foot. I dropped the darned thing. No cracked bones showed on an x-ray and I did not have surgery. However, my swollen foot needs protection. A regular shoe would be a vise-grip-pliers substitute.

I am a glorious mess. Nevertheless, I am alive.

A good, fun friend died recently. I talk to him in my thoughts, with no reply. At least on this side of time. For now, I celebrate the temporary rises and falls, the human frailties, the holes and fabric of lace woven from one day into another.

…From one perfectly imperfect, alive moment into the next. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Hanukkah. Or, simply celebrate being if holidays aren’t your thing.

May life bring beauty and joy into the everyday.

 

 

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ice storm January 20, 2012 (2)_LIWhatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Sunday morning. My husband and I celebrate at a different church. With special friends. The minister’s topic for the day combines science with awe. He speaks about the universe. In context with spirituality.

The back row, where we placed ourselves, has little significance compared to the vastness of space, the alignment of the planets, the statistical possibilities for life to exist. Yet, I embrace the moment. Beauty lives immersed in the ugly, the grand, and the ordinary.

This church community is friendly and welcoming. “Hi, I think I saw you here once before,” a woman says, “a while back.” Wow, what a memory. I came last year, maybe. And I will return. On another special day.

Bare trees display the uneven shapes of their branches, while the seasons shift in the same semi-predicted pattern. Known. Unknown. Meshing together.

I notice the shadow

of a branch on brown grass

as if bright-sun shadows

on ground were brand new.

Both spine and chin

live in the same body

yet never face one another.

One planted seed and one kindness

grow in time and

belong to another universe.

 

 

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November tree 2017It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise. (Nancy Thayer)

A windstorm hit the Midwest last week. I would have sworn every red, yellow, and gold leaf would be blown from its branch—possibly with part of the tree still attached. Most of the deciduous trees are winter-bare, not all of them.

Determination remains in all areas of existence.

I’m working on some edits. For someone else. I have a short deadline. Working on it away from home seems like the best approach because my house looks like the storm snuck inside, then, continued to create further havoc.

Moreover, Thanksgiving celebrations continue before and after the official Thursday. I enjoy cooking with fresh vegetables as well as baking without mixes. However, instant-prepare has an appeal for good reason. Packages take less time. Less clean-up.

So, why don’t I use them? I can’t fit as much love into ready-made. So, why can’t I take this time and put a little bit of me into the pages in front of me? If I didn’t care about this project, I wouldn’t help.

I take off my shoes and climb into a comfy chair. My husband is taking a class in another room. I make use of the time and work as I wait.

A tree sways in the wind outside the front window. Golden leaves sparkle against the blue sky.

One more revision begins. In expectation, copy-editing, and perspective.

 

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The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. (Mark Twain)

My friend Ann lost one eye to glaucoma when she was a young teenager—the pressure won and destroyed it. Then, several years later, the disease attacked the other eye. Even so, Ann is fiercely independent.

I am at her apartment. She has mail for me to read to her. An audio device in her kitchen announces her laundry will be dry in one minute.

Don’t get up, Terry. She will be insulted. After all, she does this all the time without your assistance. “Go ahead. This newsletter is kind of long.”

I have imaginary glue on my chair. Nevertheless, after what seems like an exceptional amount of time, I rise. Slowly. On purpose. And tiptoe to the hall. From the top of the stairs I recognize her blue pants and beige shoes. She is inside the laundry room, and next to the door.

“Hey, girlfriend! Need help carrying anything?” A request I would ask anyone.

“Sure. Want to carry the basket?”

Her towels are neatly folded. (My folding fits into the good-enough-to-dry-a-dish or body-part category.)

When I tell Ann that she does more for me than I do for her, she always smiles and thanks me. However, she doesn’t realize how tangible the rays of her spirit are. “I’ll be your friend forever,” she often says.

After we finish with the mail, she slides between an old couch and a bookshelf. “I want to show you some things, if I can find them.”

No if about it. She finds what she wants within seconds.

Pull-string toys that tell jokes. Two fish full of puns. “Fish business begins on a small scale.” I laugh, not because I haven’t heard most of the jokes, but because the atmosphere here is fresh. Stale cod jokes, but no odors. This place is beautiful.

When I left home I was anxious because I kept missing calls about biopsy results. My friend loosened my fears—good, since the word benign resounds loud and clear when the call finally arrives.

Ann has lost her sight, not her vision. Friends for life? I’ll take it.

photo-shopped public domain image

 

 

 

 

 

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