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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

“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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Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain. (Vivian Greene)

Today is a Friday in September 2018. For the moment, I celebrate public internet before stepping into a previous century world. No land line, internet, or television thanks to a thunderstorm. Lightning struck the roof of an apartment building less than a block away.

Life changes in a flash. My writing and communication with readers and friends is contingent upon the wireless world. And yet—I am privileged. Dark skies can predict floods as well as a flood of what-ifs. I don’t need to stare into the gloom.

Now, in this almost silent moment, I pause to breathe, consider where I can give more and complain less. Dance in the rain, and then run for shelter when the lightning begins.

Peace, upon all.

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Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. (John Barrymore)

My grandson, Dakota, and I explore our backyard with his new red plastic truck. It’s large enough for him to sit on it. I’m grateful he realizes I would crush it. A septuagenarian squatting that low and then maneuvering the toy from a bug’s height, would be a sight for the neighbors. I wouldn’t want them to anticipate a 911-call.

“You know you won’t live forever,” he says.

“Yes, I do. That’s why I celebrate time with you, give to others, and love as much as I can.”

He doesn’t answer and continues playing with the truck. We create ramps from National Geographic Magazines. He rolls construction paper and tapes it with heavy tape. My granddaughters’ baby doll bottles in the center maintain firmness.

We let the moments speak for themselves, the challenge to roll or unroll. To go over the ramp with the truck or bypass it. If one tactic doesn’t work, Dakota tries another. My little buddy doesn’t give up easily.

I consider how quickly the notion, not-good-enough, flashes into my mind. I know it was taught to me in childhood. What isn’t good enough? The statement is too generic to be true. Nevertheless, the temptation to just-forget-it rises far too often. For most human critters, both young and old.

My friend, Cathie, calls. She hasn’t seen me at the Y for a while. Either I have been entertaining grandkids or working on my book. She has something to give me.

“When I saw this, all the bright colors,” she says, “I thought of you and just had to get it.”

I plan to meet Cathie. On Friday morning. At ten AM.

She has made a pillow. Cathie is a seamstress. She uses her gift to celebrate other people.

“It’s pre-hugged,” she says, holding the pillow through the plastic bag against her chest.

Since we have both been in the pool, we are soaking wet. A chlorine hug doesn’t negate the love attached to her or her work.

Life isn’t perfect. It never will be. However, with grandchildren like Dakota and friends like Cathie, sweetness is easier to find.

 

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 I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?” (Eve Merriam, poet and writer)

As Ella moves through a dusty playground area, I watch the children’s interactions. Some of the kids are wild, climbing over one another on the slide. They laugh even when their bodies’ positions are obviously uncomfortable.

Other youngsters appear less aggressive. I notice the essence of both peace and war in scaled-down forms.

One bright, talkative little girl tells me the story of a skunk that appeared one evening on one of the softball fields. She is animated yet assures me no one was sprayed. Her spirit speaks peace. Another little girl and her younger brother race against Ella for a bouncy whale and dolphin.

Ella stands too close to the two children. She begs for a turn. I can tell the siblings are determined to maintain a battle over the sea mammals because they gesture to one another as Ella walks away. I lead my granddaughter in another game.

“Ella, I’m swimming, but I’m not very good at it. I need a lifeguard. Will you be my lifeguard?”

I move my arms in an awkward mock swim motion.

“Sure,” she answers.

The distraction works—at least until the two kids are called by their dad to go home. A simple solution. At least for the moment.

Mine. Mine. Mine. A universal problem. Ella also wants to help her grandmother. Play is serious learning. She doesn’t grab the dolphin until at least ten minutes after her antagonists leave.

War. It has lived since ancient times. Now, news travels faster through social media, television, the Internet. Stories appear slanted, tainted, unverified. And violence continues in various forms as TV watchers eat dinner.

Suddenly, I have indigestion.

Shadows. They have multiple meanings. Reflected images born from the sun. Shady areas. Loyal followers. Hidden flaws. Metaphors.

Find the kindest kind of shadow…

Illusive at best. I can only seek the goal I see and love to the best of my ability. Love is war’s antonym.

Attending a protest in front of an ICE facility in my home town was a recent choice for me. You bet I was frightened. However, no one ever said love was going to be easy. Yes, immigration control is necessary. Cruelty, especially against children, is not. Fortunately, the event was as peaceful as it was intended.

Some shadows need more attention than others.

Peace to all.

 

 

 

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I have come to believe that giving and receiving are really the same. Giving and receiving—not giving and taking. (Joyce Grenfell)

“Do pebbles grow into rocks?” my young step-grandson asks as he gathers odd-shaped stones and places them inside a cardboard treasure box. The box rides inside a red wagon.

I smile and tell him rocks are more likely to break into pebbles. I smile, but don’t laugh. His innocence warms me. He finds a tiny lock on the side of the road and adds it to his collection. Then, he puts it inside his pocket, to take home.

For him, all of life is a collection of serendipitous learning experiences. The tracks left by a bulldozer, a dusty trail made by the thin wheels of the collapsible, fabric wagon. The dusty wheels create mud after the wheels travel through a deep puddle.

The thought strikes me that rocks and keys may not be the unique metaphors I imagined them to be in my series, The Star League Chronicles. Black rocks act as weapons for the Malefics, the evil League. Chase Powers, the main character, operates an ancient, rusty, magical key. Sometimes, the key knows more than he does.

Sometimes play teaches me. And I haven’t been a child in a long time. My teacher-key contains no magic. Often its key is no more than a realization, a prod to notice a beauty I hadn’t noticed because I’d been stuck inside ubiquitous bad news forecasts.

This little boy trusts me. A breeze cuts through the afternoon heat. I am at peace despite that fact that I have an approaching deadline—and more words to write and edit than I want to think about. Right now, I could be pecking away at the non-magical keyboard-keys (pun semi-intended.) With the hope of creating magical scenes.

Instead, I follow a red wagon into a child’s imagination and allow my love for this boy to expand.

Work challenges will continue tonight…and tomorrow…weeks after. Until the story fits into a whole.

For now, I give and receive experience. And hope to remember this beautiful day in the middle of July.

 

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