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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

 

We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days. (Jane Austen)

Sure, anyone who has stepped beyond kindergarten knows the kiddie pool closes when summer ends. I suspect most of us cherish the daydream about an escape route, a charmed life—long after planned recesses end. Bullies, putdowns, and early traumas. They unsettle the water early and intensify a longing for a smoother ride ahead.

When I grow up…

I’ll tell the kids who called me Ziggy the niggy

they need a good eye doctor and some listening ears as well.

Ziegler, my family name, is German and means tile mason.

Hardly aristocracy. As if that mattered.

And my skin is pale to match

eyelashes and hair color common in Ireland.

A connection unknown if connected at all.

The insult you intended is learned ignorance.

You see, human refers to a wholeness.

Of body and spirit.

Dark and pale outsides can hold spirits made of sun.

And I revel in the possible housing color of spirits:

Chestnut, cinnamon, charcoal, peach, olive.

Perhaps I speak only to my own written word.

To a long-gone past.

You are busy with your own agenda.

Yet, I speak to you with respect.

Only love can make churning water

a place possible to maneuver.

Peace.

 

 

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People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross)

In a large portion of the Midwest, ice didn’t wait for the autumn leaves to drop. My husband and I experience some time without power. No heat or electricity. Difficult, but nothing in comparison to the losses of folk in other parts of the country. Fires destroy California.

Hurricanes demolished everything in their path.

Heroes and heroines rarely make the news. They are too busy working, giving. Being who they are. No time to watch them for virtues. Better to emulate them with action. I can always give more to people around me.

Even in simple, everyday ways.

I watch my seven-year-old grandson as he fills can after can with fallen leaves. He wants to do more. To work, to help. I make mashed potatoes. He learns to lead the beaters through the hot taters and create a smooth dinner treat—not as a chore, as something new. He is a hero in training.

Dakota is a gift, the kind that blasts light from within. These days before Thanksgiving I celebrate the special times we share together.

I can’t melt the ice any sooner or smother the raging fires on the other side of the country. I can give what I have to reputable organizations. And deny hard-of-heart messages from entering my spirit.

At times darkness wins. However, when light remains within the good inside people, hope lives.

 

 

 

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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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“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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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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Do not measure your loss by itself; if you do, it will seem intolerable; but if you will take all human affairs into account you will find that some comfort is to be derived from them.  (Saint Basil)

This poem has been in my file since my oldest granddaughter has been small. Yes, I choose the positive. However, it is a choice, not a feeling. An uphill climb is a sweaty uphill climb. Lately, I notice a lot of jagged rocks. Peace to all. Eventually.

EXPERIENCE

It contains puzzle parts made of fear, pain,

celebration, growth, loss, gain. The parts leak

inside, swell the pores and form leathery ripples

as time passes. They are never fully decoded.

 

I recall the last warmth of a friend’s embrace.

Buried now, she can no longer speak in earth terms.

I read the notice too late and never said goodbye.

Experience can’t fit inside a single life time.

 

Over generations, it mingles, swells. I watch

my granddaughter play. And pray she sees

more joy than sorrow.

Time embraces all, teaches few, keeps no one.

 

Love makes experience worthwhile.

I kneel, bless my next generation, and join

my first grandchild as she discovers the world,

one bright colored block at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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