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Posts Tagged ‘patience’

 

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. (Flannery O’Connor)

I insert hearing aid number two and notice an immediate change. The refrigerator hums. My husband’s voice adds a decibel—or three hundred. A car coming down the street exceeds the speed limit. I don’t need to see the vehicle to know. It needs a muffler.

Apparently, I am supposed to be learning how to hear. A peculiar notion. Older hearing aids amplified sound. Newer equipment allows for variations in background sound and volume.

I understand the concept of learning to listen, however. After a while, the hard-of-hearing individual retreats. There are only so many times a person can ask for something to be repeated. And what-are-you-talking-about can only be asked a limited number of times.

My mission: hear the birds, the wind, the radio in the background, and sort the sounds out from the telephone and my husband’s question about what is for dinner.

Studies show hearing loss can lead to dementia. Sure, I often wonder why I came into a room. I have not yet reached, who am I or whose house this is?          

Example of one of my off-the-wall conversations. This one is partially fiction, but typical:

                “Did you bring the de—-?” Garbled sounds come from my comrade’s mouth.

                “The what?” I ask.

        The answer sounds like de followed by a stifled sneeze. He continues to speak, so I’m not sure how much I missed.

                “Bring the what? Demolition?” I close one eye and tilt my head. “Details? Desk?”

                “Uh, no. The dessert! The one you spent hours making!”

                “Oh yeah. Got it.”

Today I go for my third hearing-comprehension check.

“I see you have only been wearing your hearing aids four to five hours a day,” my technician says as he looks at his all-knowing screen connected to the wiring in my ears.

“Huh? Four to five…?” I think about it. Those times I went to the Y pool and forgot to put my artificial ears back in when I came home. The times I did housework or edits first and remembered hours later… Uh, yeah, could be.

Truth, it’s got me.

“See you in a month,” my expert says.

I wonder if I’ll be any smarter in a louder world.

For anyone else who fights a similar battle, you are not alone!

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There is no such thing as the Queen’s English. The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares! (Mark Twain)

A wet snow falls as a man outside the post office asks about our day.

My husband smiles and answers, “Fair to middlin.”

“You know where that expression came from?” the man says.

We don’t. I have never thought about it because it isn’t an expression I would likely use. However, the gentleman’s friendliness intrigues me. Mother Nature is in one of her icier moods. He doesn’t seem to care.

“I’m a country boy.” He grins displaying a huge gap where at least five teeth are missing.

I guessed he has a southern background by his accent.

“Well,” he begins at a slow, mellow pace, as if this were a gentle April afternoon. He must peg us as city folk because he gives a full explanation about where the bacon is found on the pig, the loins, the better cuts versus the less choice. “The middlin is up from the end, not the best quality. It’s still mighty fine though, the part that’s not bad at all. So, fair to middlin is good stuff. Makes up a great breakfast.”

I am not a big meat fan, but I listen anyway. No thanks to slaughter stories.

We wish him a fair to middlin day, better if possible, and move on. The next day I ask Google. The pig story does not appear. It is neither verified nor proven untrue.

The Urban Dictionary refers to the phrase as a term coming from the deep south. It describes cotton that fits the definition but lacks quality.

Later I find a closer explanation to this man’s tale. In America somewhere in the mid 1800’s fair to middling, often pronounced without the g, referred to the quality of livestock. The term did mean better than average.

Perhaps the friendly grown-up country boy with the optimistic, good-enough definition comes with another point of view. One that morphed over time. And gave him strength to ignore bitter circumstances, like ice and snow.

Today I walk in sun that has quickly melted the white. Same month. Same city. The cold continues. For now. Today is all I can experience.

The historian tells only part of any one story, and it contains bias. The future is made up of speculation.

Now, I celebrate the gift of life.

 

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The wisest mind has something yet to learn. (George Santayana)

Wisdom—an always valuable, fitting gift. Yet, it is never for sale. I earn or learn it. If my heart is ready.

I slip a small cold pack along my waist line and pray ice cools the ache. Laparoscopic cuts across my belly demand awareness. Pain interferes with logical thought.

Perhaps body-recovery asks for spirit-recovery as well. I lack the self-sufficiency my pride requires. I let go and accept humility soaked in love,

Peace arrives as a form of banal wisdom. For now, it needs to be enough.

 

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The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. (Mark Twain)

My friend Ann lost one eye to glaucoma when she was a young teenager—the pressure won and destroyed it. Then, several years later, the disease attacked the other eye. Even so, Ann is fiercely independent.

I am at her apartment. She has mail for me to read to her. An audio device in her kitchen announces her laundry will be dry in one minute.

Don’t get up, Terry. She will be insulted. After all, she does this all the time without your assistance. “Go ahead. This newsletter is kind of long.”

I have imaginary glue on my chair. Nevertheless, after what seems like an exceptional amount of time, I rise. Slowly. On purpose. And tiptoe to the hall. From the top of the stairs I recognize her blue pants and beige shoes. She is inside the laundry room, and next to the door.

“Hey, girlfriend! Need help carrying anything?” A request I would ask anyone.

“Sure. Want to carry the basket?”

Her towels are neatly folded. (My folding fits into the good-enough-to-dry-a-dish or body-part category.)

When I tell Ann that she does more for me than I do for her, she always smiles and thanks me. However, she doesn’t realize how tangible the rays of her spirit are. “I’ll be your friend forever,” she often says.

After we finish with the mail, she slides between an old couch and a bookshelf. “I want to show you some things, if I can find them.”

No if about it. She finds what she wants within seconds.

Pull-string toys that tell jokes. Two fish full of puns. “Fish business begins on a small scale.” I laugh, not because I haven’t heard most of the jokes, but because the atmosphere here is fresh. Stale cod jokes, but no odors. This place is beautiful.

When I left home I was anxious because I kept missing calls about biopsy results. My friend loosened my fears—good, since the word benign resounds loud and clear when the call finally arrives.

Ann has lost her sight, not her vision. Friends for life? I’ll take it.

photo-shopped public domain image

 

 

 

 

 

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A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind. (John Neal)

I meet every Tuesday morning with a spiritual group I joined when my older son was a toddler. The subject of hope keeps bouncing to the surface. I could use it.

Watch the news for more than five minutes, and the desire to remain on the couch indefinitely becomes tempting.

Deportation of innocent young people, hurricanes, earthquakes, the exploitation of personal tragedy, hate and greed take over the screen. 

As my friends and I talk about love that reaches deeper than the average Valentine card, I lift my socks-covered feet onto the coffee table. A deep purple bruise has taken over my right foot.

I knocked a few books off the shelf and gravity won. The foot swelling will heal. In comparison to the grief I see around me, this pain is a pinprick. The difficulties we explore are stab wounds.

However, my friend gives me an icepack. Love wrapped in a maroon towel. A symbol of hope. My friends share both encouragement and experience. Not lofty, disjointed everything-will-be-okay platitudes.

I share a short video. A Canadian politician is hassled by someone who confuses Sikhism for Islam. Clarification between the two groups is less important than the interruption centered in hate. Resolution comes through the leader’s call to peace. I hope the welcome greeting eventually touches the angry woman. Prejudice is heavy armor; it restricts movement and disables the heart. Hate armor takes time to build and time to remove.

The video can be found at this link: Sikh Politician Gets Verbally Attacked and Handles Gracefully.

In our small Tuesday group, we pause to check our responses. What preconceived notions do we hold? What views are opinions, taught, not experienced? And not true.

Kites fly through gentle wind; their fabric fails during turbulence. I choose where to fly a metaphorical kite, and where to call for reinforcements.

In the meantime, my foot loses some of its discomfort under the ice. I can decide to pass along kindness with the examples of my friends—or, I can add to the turbulence with discontent.

Peace. Upon all. Whether our political views coincide. Or not.

In the meantime, I will fly into Europe and meet other people. And see other ways of knowing life. Hopefully, I will come back with fresh perspective. And just a little more understanding.

photo-shopped public domain pic

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I can’t control what’s fair and unfair. I can’t control the nature of the business or the nature of society or the nature of the world, but what I can control is how I choose to see the world and what I choose to put back into it (Aisha Tyler)

A squirrel destroyed our squirrel-proof birdfeeder and then escaped through the break he created. The chunky critter had eaten his fill and then emptied the rest of the seed onto the grass. Sure, I grumbled, but at least a few birds managed to find some of the loose food.

A few birds. Nowhere near enough to approach a notion of fairness for our smaller visitors. Fairness has little to do with reality. I’d like to say I accept whatever falls from malevolent skies with the tranquility of a Buddhist monk in perpetual meditation. However, I suspect that few individuals have slipped while striking a nail with a hammer, smashed a thumb, and responded with an innocent smile, “Oh shucks.”

I remember a time when I was in a distant, lost personal place. A well-meaning acquaintance said she couldn’t understand how sadness and depression could keep someone from seeing the grandeur of a dogwood tree in spring.

I didn’t have an answer then. I see differently now. This woman’s judgment cut me off and ignored the fuller picture. I didn’t know yet that I needed to understand beauty by experiencing bugs, storms, disaster, and disease as well as delicate blooms. The word perfect is an adjective that lives fully only inside its definition.

In real life, darkness contrasts light, and creates shade as well as variant grays. 

Not every difficult place in a person’s life needs to be spread across an Internet page and sent into the world. I prefer to send a word, a gesture or two, an image. Then let it speak for itself. A book-sized explanation isn’t always necessary.

What could one smile or phone call do? It seems inadequate when approaching deep sorrow and pain. And yet, many years ago, a friend unexpectedly stopped by my house with a casserole. I recall its simple tomato-based contents now. Even more, I remember her timing, and the fact that she believed I was worth her effort.

May your lights and shadows create fascinating paths, rather than no-outlet mazes, or resentments built of broken birdfeeders and other stolen treasures. If not now, when the timing highlights the gems in each developing pattern.

light, shadows, and a goldfinch at one of our feeders

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It’s important to see how we can advance in healing wounds. (Ricardo Lagos)

When I tell a good long-time friend that I’m seeing my orthopedist on Friday, she shares experience I hadn’t considered. Doc’s expected first request: “Make a fist.”

The inevitable surfaces. My middle finger has more arthritis than muscle and bone. It had old-lady inflexibility before my hand had a major conflict with the concrete—and lost.

We’re talking about pain. Healing rarely includes magic-wand results. My gut reaction says run from impending digital distress, but I have a book signing to schedule, a guitar waiting for me to take it out of its case, a real-life schedule to maintain, blogs to type with more than one finger, my next book to write, as well as grandchildren who bring no-time-to-sit-still joy.

I remove the brace and unwrap a foreign hand. Hi, there, righty. Want to shake hands with lefty? Or at least curve across the top surface of her flesh for a while?

We’ll work together, every part of me, past and present. As a girl child reared in the middle of the twentieth century I was taught to have no needs. The older woman Terry speaks against such nonsense. A warehouse needs stock before it can distribute goods. A flower needs the power of seed—within itself—to flourish.

Healing wounds. A lifelong process. I’m not sure what I can expect on Friday, but this isn’t Friday.  Today, I curl and uncurl uncooperative fingers as the sun and rain take turns in the summer day skies.

Thanks for the photo, hubby Jay

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