Posts Tagged ‘Jay Petersen’

Not what I have, but what I do, is my kingdom. (Thomas Carlyle, historian and essayist, 1795-1881)

At dinner my husband Jay compliments my cooking and then suggests we go shopping soon. For my Christmas gift. “I don’t want to get something you need,” he adds. He knows I have a pair of shoes with heels that have been losing a battle with city sidewalks. The soles would not be road-worthy if they were tires.

“We will get whatever you need; I want you to get something extra,” he says. “Something you want.”

I understand the difference, yet don’t have a ready answer. Certainly, if I think about thing-possibilities long enough I could probably come up with an idea. But what I want most no one can give me. I want more people to get along. I want violence to stop, listening to come first and speaking to arrive second. I want my friends who are suffering to see an end to pain. I want the depressed to see a purpose in their lives, the grieving to find comfort, the people I have hurt without knowing it to find healing. I don’t feel well now. Neck spasms. Lying down and getting up again has suddenly become monumental. Health cannot be purchased and wrapped.

I smile and tell my mate we will shop this week. And we will. Probably. Next week at the latest.

I recall driving through a fog to my small community’s church service. I was halfway down a long winding road, no other car in sight, when I realized my lights aren’t on. I could see reasonably well without them, but turned them on anyway. Light, one small passageway, created a clearer path.

One small change in perspective makes a difference. Perhaps it is not the item, the purchased thing, that matters. The gift is no more than a symbol. I think about the built-in imperfections of life. Many people have complimented Jay and me on our ideal marital relationship. I smile because we live the muddy, you-said-what real as well as the let’s-go-to-a-park fun times. Moments arise when work-it-out hasn’t found a solution yet.

We don’t live in Utopia. We have our moments of discontent. Neither one of us has sprouted angel wings, levitated, or prophesied before the masses. We are 100% human, flawed, and complicated. Mind-reading 101 could help with the misunderstandings, but it exists only in fantasy. One of my characters in “The Curse Under the Freckles” has this gift. But, even this character finds it noisy, distracting, and annoying at times.

I suspect a perfect world would be predictable and boring—even in fiction.

So, I have no idea what toy I will choose on shopping day, but the product isn’t my focus. I imagine a journey with someone I’ve known most of my life, yet don’t completely know yet. Even if that journey includes a mundane thirty-minute mall walk. In the meantime, sweetheart, I’ll take your hand and you take mine.

At ages 69 and 70 neither one of us is too old to learn. From a geological point of view we are infants. From today’s practical position it doesn’t matter anyway.

how awesome you are


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