Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase. (Martin Luther King Jr.)

A limping dog blocks traffic as he fights to get to roadkill, the dead animal no longer recognizable. At an exercise class two people share difficult places in their lives with me. The news blasts one horror story after another.

The May sun shines on all. I just had another birthday. Another beginning. A step forward.

My glasses are adequate, barely, during the daytime. At least until after cataract surgery I avoid driving at night. Hearing aids help if I want to hear the phone, a conversation, opportunities to learn or give.

However, sweet, bitter, and sour affect everyone—and everything. All I need to do is listen to other people’s stories. And see their sharing as a gift.

One step, to embrace this moment. The whole staircase? Mine is cluttered now. No way can I clear it all at once.

May there be adventure and serendipity along the way. May we find peace together. By seeing one another as individuals, by listening. Heart and ears wide open.

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

If I don’t ask “Why me?” after my victories, I cannot ask “Why me?” after my setbacks and disasters. ( Arthur Ashe )

As usual, I’m multitasking, poorly. The image of sweeping the beach at low tide hits me. The tide comes in before I’ve put the broom back in the closet. A missing cell phone. A forgotten load of wash—from last night waiting to be spun. My husband’s TED hose soaking in the sink. I wonder how fast I can dry them. He needs them now.

The phone rings. Shannon asks how I am and then says she has good news. She is getting a new kidney. Today. At 1:30.

Wow! Shannon has been alive because dialysis has been giving her some good days.

Shortly after the designated gift of life is expected, she calls again. The match is not as complete as it is supposed to be. I hold my breath. She remains calm.

“I’m still at the top of the list.”

The top of the list. The top of the transplant list. She sees blessings despite big-time disappointment.

Top-of-the-list for a transplant means imminent need. Yet, Shannon wastes no time with why-me.

The tide of confusion continues inside the house. It will end. Eventually. In the meantime, sun reaches through the window. Hope arrives. Her name is Shannon Owens.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

The large cat doesn’t deter one small robin.

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer. (Douglas Adams, author Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

I am at a small prayer gathering. Something hits the window behind me. I can’t see it but know what is happening. My friend, Pat, has already warned me not to jump, startled. Kamikaze Robin has returned.

This is one determined bird, admirable if he weren’t shortening his lifespan with each strike. Is he developing internal bleeding? Is this how the term bird-brain began? Studies have shown birds know more than their brain size would suggest. However, birds fight one another in a mismatched fight. More bravado than self-protection.

“What is he doing?” I turn around after his next strike.

Our small group has no idea. There is no point in asking. None of us speak robin.

Robin, pausing between strikes

One article, researched later, gives me a notion. However, I can’t always understand my own motivation much less the plant-loving, territorial drive of the avian population. (The highlighted link provides a few suggestions.)

For me, I refuse to answer a question about someone else’s behavior because I don’t live inside that person’s skull. After learning a few traits, past experiences, present habits, I get a clue. Not X-ray vision into complicated brain structure and memories.

A few days after the bird incident, at the Y, a young woman doesn’t answer when I talk to her. She isn’t aloof; she’s legally deaf. “I read lips well,” she tells me. We speak, and I feel blessed to learn more about her life. She lost her hearing in the navy. She served twelve years.

The class begins. I smile as I watch her follow the instructor.  She is a survivor.

I don’t know what has happened to the robin. He hasn’t penetrated the window. But then, I haven’t accomplished any of my impossible dreams either.

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: