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An ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. (Hans Hofmann)

 A warning on the side of the pool reads: eleven feet three inches deep. Even if I were tall enough to function in my kitchen without a handy-dandy step stool, I would need to tread. And that is okay with me. Making peace with something larger than I am seems to be the right move. Actually, making peace with me may be the next goal.

In a recent blog I wrote about the week when I battled daily headaches. A beautiful, psychic, and talented massage-therapist friend brought me unexpected answers. Sure the weather and stress were valid factors in my discomfort. But she discovered clues hidden inside my muscle memory. And she helped me to diffuse those interruptions into the universe. Then I could begin again. And accept both my gifts and need-improvement areas. Amazingly I was having more difficulty accepting success than frailties.

As I was growing up girls were not encouraged to do more than scrub floors and find a husband. In my life compliments came from outside my family every other blue moon, if I was lucky. I wouldn’t have considered repeating encouraging words at home. My mother would have shot them down. Her aim had bulls-eye accuracy.

However, I gained other-side-of-the-coin benefits from my experience: encouragement matters. The facade a person presents is not necessarily who he or she is inside. I have met saints as well as people who are more than a little rough around the edges. I have never met anyone who wasn’t human. Usually superiority claims fail somewhere—so do inferiority assertions.

The pool doesn’t care who enters. It makes room for a timid-toe or an entire body, whether it belly flops or swan dives. Not many people have come to the Y pool today. The sky is gray, overcast. Rain is expected at any moment. But a woman somewhat younger than I am joins me and my husband. Something about her radiates common interest, although I have no idea what that could be. I ask her name and make a mental note of it. We are both interested in the arts.

Before long we share who we are. In more than a superficial I-like-chocolate-and-movies kind of way. I feel honored by her sincerity. She hasn’t had an easy life. Yet, she gives to her family and doesn’t complain about it.

She inspires me and I doubt she realizes how much. Her sharing verifies what I am learning. Body and spirit work together. Opportunities to grow abound. Even the fact that a gloomy day has kept the crowds down feels like a gift. We would not have had the freedom to express ourselves during an every-whisper-is-heard moment.

“I hope I see you later,” I tell her as my husband and I leave.

I mean it. But even if this time is meant only for the few minutes we shared it is worthwhile.

As I hang my wet towel on the back porch I look out into the yard and speak to my recent comrade, even though she is probably busy tending to matters more difficult than anything I will need to handle tonight:

You reminded me that beauty is not sterile…

A statue is chiseled, not daintily pecked…

Worthwhile takes a while…

And when the necessary speaks, love needs to be the final word.

Thanks.

learning to be brave and patient

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Wherever you are, be there. Lifestyle is not something we do; it is something we experience. And until we learn to be there, we will never master the art of living well. (Jim Rohn )

My husband’s ribs are healing slowly. Of course we can’t see the bones as they knit together. The slightest extended movement predicts a return to our normal life. Sometimes that improvement appears to move in geological time. I’m encouraged when Jay smiles at something as silly as an old F-Troup or Hogan’s Heroes rerun. That means he isn’t hurting at the moment.

Then, somehow, my added tasks feel less like work. Since my father once told me he wanted me to take a mechanical aptitude test to see how low a score I would get, it’s amazing that I am now leveling the wash machine and plunging the toilet. (Please note I prefer the former task to the latter.) Perhaps these accomplishments have come as side effects of my husband’s accident. Chances are I wouldn’t have attempted either job if I had someone with a strong arm and intact ribs close by.

However, I can’t give the impression that I’m bouncing from moment to moment with the serenity of a saint. And I don’t drink alcohol or use drugs so I’m not drifting in avoidance land either. Sometimes fatigue and the impossibility of bi-location attack me, and they can lead to a bad attitude the way black ice leads to the fall that initiated this situation.

Friends make a difference between finding balance and slipping into why-me or super-stress land. One friend, Marcia, helped me to soothe my soul back into my body through massage. Since I was concerned about leaving my husband for any extended period of time, she brought her magic table to my living room. I am blessed.

One of the gifts Marcia gave me was  the ability to focus enough to appreciate the now. I allowed myself to float into her care. I trusted her implicitly. After that relaxation I could consider trusting me, my own body and soul, my ability to fill my spiritual larder so that I had enough stored to give to someone else. While this notion should seem obvious, it isn’t the first thought of a girl brought up in the 1950s, where the female’s giving role was often skewed. In the popular “Christmas Story,” overplayed in December, Ralph’s mother is expected to be subservient to her husband. That position is not questioned. Sure she thinks the leg lamp is beyond tacky, but it needs to crash into smithereens before she can admit it.

I want to be present to my mate—as a choice, expressed in a continuous now. Who knows whether or not he will need to care for me some day, in a far more difficult situation. There is no sense to speculating about the future. This afternoon the sun has decided to make an appearance again, for a while. Every cell in my body has been enriched by Marcia’s loving skill, and the next post will probably be a gift from someone else—my first guest blog. Watch for it! This woman emanates positive thinking. In the meantime, peace to all!

enjoy little things words of wisdom

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