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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Listening to and understanding our inner sufferings will resolve most of the problems we encounter. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

An old black car with temporary tags sped up our street during Saturday night’s rain. Hit and run. My rear-view mirror is no longer facing the rear without the help of duct tape. The glass cracked but didn’t escape onto the road to puncture tires. My car’s left side has superficial wounds yet lacks an immune system. It won’t heal itself.

My husband and I were not home at the time. However, two neighbors witnessed the event. They chased the driver. Later they identified her. The next day a police report was filed with my neighbors’ help. I am humbled by their steadfast assistance.

“You are loved,” my daughter-in-law says. And I pause, aware of the goodness of my family. Friends. One of the witnesses I barely recognize. The other has assisted my husband and me many times.

Cecelia, my daughter-in-law, and I speak often. I am more than twice her age. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes I encourage her. Then we reverse roles. Ego isn’t the decider. Being the best of who we can be, is.

Sometimes, insides break open like the interior of this near-dead rear-view mirror. It’s complicated inside and needs protection. Not smooth, matching the meant-to-look-perfect whole. Time to face what is, not what I want it to be.

I think about this person who used the street as a speedway. And I can’t judge. Old. Young. Color. None of it matters. Besides, I don’t know the answer.

I pray she no longer needs to run. From whatever, to whatever. The messiness inside the whole. A job that isn’t mine. That doesn’t mean I can’t care enough to wish her well. In whatever way a blessed journey can lead.

 

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Men are not moved by things but by the views they take of them. (Epictetus)

A sunburst strikes the windshield of my car and I beg it to stay. Cleanse my thoughts. Highlight the good. Too many people want to believe the earth can’t be affected by poisons tossed into the air. A man who disrespects other people and nations is okay—for anything.

And yet, judgment of any individual is not my right.

The sudden sun-brightness doesn’t stay. It never does. Peace, right now? Maybe not. I discover only smiles of encouragement and the assurance that integrity is always in season. Perfection, not as much. The bottom photos lean. May time help them. Direction isn’t the issue: peace is.

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Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life. (Shannon L. Alder)

The summer of 1963. I’m at a journalism workshop in Detroit to prepare for a position on my high school magazine. And I have a date. Other pre-seniors, a group of at least six, give advice about makeup.

“More eyebrow pencil. They look pale. Lost.”

A description of how I felt. Strange. I had a date. With a guy I’d just met. Not the love of my life, but someone who would introduce me to a fancy restaurant and frog legs. Yet my memory of the moment says I wasn’t enough.

Today I look in the mirror and see one red, irritated eye. The itching is a unique form of torture and I am grateful for antibiotic drops. Pink eye is temporary. Human frailties are not.

I have survived adolescence by now. However, what is this thing in me that says rest must be limited? Does laundry really need to be done, now? I need to type even when the letters could be more fog than print. I take a break, a short one. Maybe not-good-enough has morphed through the years. Soothed with action.

The new year begins. May I remain open to change, especially if it doesn’t seem easy. Time to focus on the real. And grow inside both joy and turmoil.

 

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If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. (Mother Teresa)

My grandson’s miniature cars speed across rug or kitchen floor and carry his imagination. I saw those possibilities for less than a few seconds as I waited in line at a local discount store.

As the couple behind me and I chatted, the man making his purchase, a one-dollar toy car, raised his voice. “It’s how much?”

I watched his dark cheeks tighten.

The cashier repeated the price in a barely audible voice.

I pulled out my wallet. Even if I had spoken before reaching into my purse, I would have been too late. I guess he expected the item to be further discounted. My mind-reading skills are rusty.

He ranted about how nobody likes him. Everybody hates him. Why doesn’t the store just call the police?

Nevertheless, he pulled out the dollar and more change than necessary to pay the tax.

I’ve been thinking about this slender, angry man and praying for him ever since. One dollar and a few coins couldn’t have saved him. He needed far more. An earlier justice probably. Love, when he was ready to recognize it.

He walked out. How easy such a simple event could have led to violence.

The cashier in the next lane hugged her fellow worker.

“That poor man isn’t well. You know it wasn’t you,” I added. And she nodded.

Yet, one tiny car travels somewhere. The only gift he could afford? I don’t know. No story is ever complete. May a blessing appear. Somewhere.

Since then Christmas hasn’t come and gone; it has come and begun. The day has nothing to do with a belief system. Presents. Parties. Enough lights to blind traffic. The ability to be peace transcends any religious border. Let it happen. Please.

 

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We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. (John F. Kennedy)

One dollar. I want to keep this one separate from the others in my wallet. Long enough to celebrate the moment. When I told my friend Ann that my sister-in-law needed serious surgery, she asked me to get a card and sign it for her. Ann is blind. She doesn’t know my family. She gives out of kindness.

Her dollar is a symbol. When I see it, I think of a simple woman’s generosity. Her borderless love. I could resemble a worn scarecrow or discarded carved pumpkin; she wouldn’t care. Our house could have dirty windows with bedsheet drapes. It wouldn’t matter. (Our windows are properly clothed. I can’t make false claims about their condition.)

I made a card for my sister-in-law. I will give it to her, signed with Ann’s full name. Ann can have the dollar back. Of course, I won’t be surprised if I see it again. Marked to be given for someone else. I suspect this is what real-world love is all about.

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Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. (William Arthur Ward)

A friend died. Minutes before I leave for my book signing, his wife asks my husband to be one of the pallbearers. Grief and relief take turns in my heart. This man’s suffering has been unbearable to watch much less endure.

Sun replaces yesterday’s rain. Both belong to nature. Necessary to life’s balance.

My simple camera can’t photograph intense sun. It translates bright rays into the red light that shines through closed eyelids. I recognize my limitations and know I am neither imperfection nor success. There are more roads to explore, continued opportunities to give and forgive, moments to live and celebrate.

Thanksgiving, the official national holiday, appears this week. I pray to be more than pumpkin pie and a stack of dishes in the sink. These memories fade into previous years like dreams lost before waking. As I get older, I notice life sends more intense challenges—with incredible blessings attached. I pray to stay longer with the blessings than the pain.

Peace to all.

 

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Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in steering others. (Jacob M. Braude)

I have no idea how much my husband and I spent trying to save the blue spruce in our front yard. A service came regularly with botanical anti-fungal treatment until the cost of the treatment could have paid for the creation of a national park.

Needles turned brown and fell from branch to branch to ground. Huge gaps appeared as limbs died and were severed. The birds no longer had a place to hide and send out their morning songs.

The tree couldn’t maintain its status anymore. The sapling had been planted for our first son. He is now an adult, married with two daughters. The spruce had become part of our home and its past. Part of our sons’ history.

When asked which house we lived in, the answer came easily. “The one with the tree that is the front yard.”

I can’t control the life of a tree, the decisions of another person, or the whims of Mother Nature. Directing me is difficult enough. What I desire for the whole doesn’t happen by wishing, demanding, or sacrificing more than this old body has.

Hatred. Prejudice. The notion of us versus them. If only I could uproot these creature killers. Tear up the roots. Open eyes to see hearts, not superficial differences.

Peace. Planted one kind seed at a time. Without judgment. I pray that I can say to the angry, No, I don’t believe some people are better than others. But, since you also happen to be human, you are deserving of love. Now.

No, I can’t forgive with ease. Not yet. Still working on it.

Trees don’t reappear from stumps. Nevertheless, fresh planting creates possibilities. May good-will seeds create hope.

 

 

 

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