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Posts Tagged ‘patience’

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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A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.  (Alan Kay)

I awaken from a short evening nap on the couch at my brother-in-law’s house. I can’t breathe. One inhalation of albuterol, two. Desperate, wheezy attempts to get air out of my lungs.

“Should I take you to the ER?” my husband asks.

We are six hours from home. The ER could be one mile away or as far away as Mercury. I don’t know. Finally, a pause between coughs. Water. More water.

I decide I will make it through the night. My brother-in-law escorts me to the most efficient air-conditioned room. My sister-in-law sleeps on the floor. I remain in a recliner I can’t adjust with a fractured right hand in a brace. My sister-in-law maneuvers the chair up and down as I need it, even for my nighttime bathroom trips. She needs to leave for work at eight in the morning, yet is willing to help me.

My wheezing doesn’t stop, but it doesn’t reach a critical level. I have no idea how much time lapses between albuterol rescue inhalations.

A frightening scene? Maybe. However, my in-laws are close-by. Jay is in a room next door. Love lives here. It fills me. Night will not give up a single hour of darkness. Yet, light survives. In hearts and minds.

A trip to Urgent Care. Antibiotics. Prednisone. More waiting to be the full me I recognize.

To breathe freely.

To turn the key in my car’s ignition with my right hand.

To sign Stinky, Rotten Threats, Book Two in the Star League Chronicles, now available, with a signature that doesn’t look as if I were pretending to wield an electric saw struck by lightning.  

To cut my own sandwiches.

To celebrate the ordinary.

The magic available in fantasy doesn’t exist on the everyday plane. The magic available inside the human spirit has power. It changes perspective. I’d like to say my IQ is 80 points higher because I learned to accept and appreciate care.

More likely, I’m simply a lot happier.

The same flower, in darkness and in light

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Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. (Jacques Maritain)


I have attended fairs as a vendor, an author selling The Curse Under the Freckles, the first book in my soon-to-be-released series, The Star League Chronicles. The second book, Stinky, Rotten Threats, will be released soon.

However, I have never tried signing with a broken hand. The swelling is down enough to allow thumb and index finger to meet. I am at a health fair sponsored by a local senior center.

As I wish magic for a reader, it feels akin to a spell because each letter of every word can be read. My signature hasn’t been repeated often enough to reach celebrity status, spasmodic lines that mimic the measurement of earthquake tremors.

Blessings, however, seem to abound.

My table is in an ideal spot—one of the first seen, but it is isolated from the crowd.

My friend, G., gets a fresh cup of coffee for me. Then, later, she watches my table so I can get a sandwich. She collects samples from the booths, and then lets me browse a little as well.

The frozen gel pack I brought for my aching hand has warmed. A YMCA director replaces it with a bag of ice. The director of the senior program at the Y is especially helpful.

I’m impressed by the number of volunteers who pass by. Good, generous, people.

Broken places throb. In my hand, in life. It’s the nature of a broken place. Even in my middle-grade fiction, I don’t avoid the shattered. I suspect the contrast of darkness and light makes the beauty of kindness more striking. Perhaps even exquisite. Thanks to all the givers in the world.

 

 

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Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. (Anthony J. D’Angelo)

I’m quickly sending a few documents to my publisher before leaving for writer’s group when I glance outside. Huh? Snow? Was this in today’s weather forecast?

Before long I realize today is going to be a plot-switch experience. I’m not really feeling top-notch anyway, and several other group members won’t be able to make it. Roads are closed in an eastern area of town.

One writer friend calls me to say her family members warned her about slick roads in a section close to me. They canceled travel plans for today. She doesn’t want me to risk the forty-five-minute drive. I appreciate her compassionate call.

Okay, we’ll plan for another gathering next month. The group member I asked this morning to take over for me as facilitator, cancels the gathering for this month. Mother Nature has preempted our show.

Within an hour, the temperature moves above freezing. Our street is wet, not white. I’m ready to move in typical Terry frenzy—but then, I pause. Maybe I’ll slow down instead. My husband, Jay, points out an article I need to read. C’mon Get Hygge: Unlocking Denmark’s Secret to Happiness by Lisa Tolin.

Hygge, pronounce hoo-ga, refers to a conscious kind of coziness. The Danes pay high taxes, but these funds are used for the people’s welfare. Cold weather rules their world, yet, through hygge, they seek the good in what they have. Hygge is not isolation; it is social celebration, simple and natural. Life is okay as it is.

Okay, utopia doesn’t exist. Denmark has its problems, too. Negative thinking and its many cousins exist everywhere. Look for them if you choose.

I struggle, like everyone else does. The bluebird of happiness is an illusion. For today I savor a few hours with a husband who loves me—and I love him. I choose to look at that gift and let the gray exist since I can’t change it anyway.

Peace upon all.  

march-snow-3_li

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Right now, I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle. (Jackée Harry)

I have a bookcase, better described as cheap than inexpensive. It is a strictly functional piece. The back is as thin as a pizza box and leaves some shelves open, vulnerable. Perhaps, a dark wall showing through would make a nice decorative touch. However, my office also serves as a toy room. (Stuffed cow, twin watering cans, and children’s books get the sturdier case.) The room’s ambience has a more turned-over toy box look than showroom feel.

Items from my shelf frequently fall out against the wall. However, an old phone book has dropped from the top and set off an avalanche. Books, papers, and notebooks followed like sheep to slaughter.

Okay, I guess it’s time to organize. Not reorganize. Most of my life is filed under miscellaneous.

First, I empty the bookcase and place it against the desk instead of the wall. If my system doesn’t work, escaped items can be retrieved under the desk. As backup I have a stack of magazines in the way—to protect computer wires. Yes, someday I’ll get a nicer bookshelf. For now, I’ll deal with what I have. I’m satisfied with functional.

Each stack of items becomes less defined in the small area. How did all this fit in one bookcase to begin with? Ooh!  Sun Magazine. Did I finish reading this July article? I am hesitant to throw away my favorite periodicals. Focus, Terry, focus.

Somewhere in the chaos I find the manuscript for an unpublished story I wrote fourteen years ago, not bad, but it needs editing and development. Time to keep on trucking—continue to steps two and three. In the present, possibilities to follow.

I think about real life, how much I’d like to tackle the whole of a world situation, settle it. Now. I can only send out a pebble onto the water and let the ripples flow. Toward justice, peace, recognition of all people.  I pick up one item in my mess and face my limits as well as my strengths. The existence of a flaw does not deny a talent. For anyone.

The three photos of my mundane work space below combine to show art coming from chaos. In this picture, a MiFrame program did most of the work. In the everyday, it isn’t as easy.

I see you; you see me. As we are. We grow from there.

organizing

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When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. (Marcus Aurelius)

While my husband was in the hospital summer ended. I know Mother Nature didn’t make the transition intentionally. I love the pool and was looking forward to at least a few more days of sunscreen. But, the sudden change in weather highlighted the change in our everyday lives.

One Columbine plant blossoms. I take a picture of it. To savor.

No moment lasts forever.

I start an edit on a recent short story. My husband calls to me for help. His request is legitimate. When I come back I’ve lost my train of thought. It didn’t take off without me; it was never developed enough to make it to the track. And I stare at the page until I realize I haven’t washed the dishes yet.

This could be a long day. Or, it could be a chance to savor life as it is: the single Columbine plant in the front yard, calls from friends, three more get-well cards for Jay in the mail…an offer from my twelve-year-old granddaughter to help with heavier chores…

And I ease into the transition of caretaker. For me this job is temporary. For several of my friends it was a never-chosen, no-pay career. Two friends, Judy and Carol, are angels in human form. They never complain. I taste now what they experience daily. Somehow, it isn’t so bad. I am privileged to have this much time with my Jay. I have other friends who would give anything to have their husbands back in more than memory.

My husband does not take my presence for granted. I realize he never has.  

“Wow, that meal was delicious,” he says. No more than a few eggs and leftover French toast. And yet, this moment says healing has begun.

And I celebrate that healing.

columbine-in-october-2016

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