Posts Tagged ‘Thich Nhat Hanh quote’

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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Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds – all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have. (Edward Everett Hale)

I’m at the pool on a not-too-hot summer day. Jay and I are the only persons in the adults-only side of the deep end of the pool. A woman enters the water. Her expression shouts bad mood, but I swim a bit closer and say, “hello.”

She does not answer until a few minutes later when I try again. I don’t hear every word, but I do recognize her expression—and it isn’t nice-to-meet-you on any level.

“I’m sorry,” I respond in a pleasant tone. “I didn’t hear what you said.”

She shakes her head and turns around. I give her space. And say a silent prayer. For her. The water has pulled out all the pain in my back that has plagued me for the past month. And I am not going to let her misery destroy my healing.

I swim away and within a few minutes she exits the water.

Then a young girl takes a swim test in the lane next to the tread area. “Am I allowed to take breaths?” she asks.

I smile and so does the lifeguard giving her the test.

“Yes, you need to breathe,” the lifeguard answers, her amusement obvious. But she maintains respect for the young swimmer.

The girl has a silent cheering squad. I want her to make it. No, I will not interfere. This is not my test, and on some level I suspect I could be embarrassing her if I spoke. But, I want this young lady to win. To succeed.

When Jay and I leave the pool later I see the unhappy woman in a lounge chair. She seems to be looking around her, as if targeted by people who somehow want to get in her way. Silently cheering her on isn’t as easy as encouraging the innocent young swimmer.

But, I don’t know what this woman faces. If my hello intimidated her, I have no idea what she needs. Nor will I probably ever understand. Saving the world is not my job. Responding with peace instead of hate, is.

pic: Thich Nhat Hanh, walking on earth in peace

walking on earth is the real miracle

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Each minute we spend worrying about the future and regretting the past is a minute we miss in our appointment with life. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

The electricity flashes off about eight in the morning, turns on again, and then gives up seconds later. I’m in the shower. Fortunately there is enough light to turn off the water and grab a towel.

The computer screen is a dull, uncooperative black. Google is as accessible as the inner chambers of a collapsed, condemned mine. At least temporarily.

I’m grateful my car is out of the garage because the garage door doesn’t have a convenient old-fashioned handle. It has a one-track attitude; it responds only to an electronic opener—and intact electricity. Sure, the door can be opened manually. If you are taller than the average fire hydrant.

Apparently the power outage has affected more than our short street. A traffic light at a major intersection is out. I am grateful for courteous drivers. Yes, they do exist. Unfortunately, the-guy-with-the-need-to-read-bumper-stickers-while-driving-seventy-miles-an-hour-three-inches-from-your-bumper demands more attention than the individual who understands four-way stops at a malfunctioning light.

The plot thickens. The electricity returns. About three hour later. But, suddenly we lose our land line, television, and Wifi connections.

A slow, steady rain falls, but no heavy wind, no indication of a thunderstorm. I think about unexpected struggles. Sometimes they are trivial, like a delay in access to my beloved connections to the world. Then again they can be violent, obviously coming from an uncontrollable force. The death of a faithful friend or family member, or a major loss.

And sometimes struggles come from unexpected, uncomfortable change. The slow disintegration of the agility in my hands, suddenly cramping without warning, or a discomfort that works its way into pain. Example: I suspect I pulled something in my left arm during an exercise class, but no length of rest, no amount of heat or cold, helps.

The nagging thought that this pain could be something more than a minor mishap crosses my mind. Not helpful. So, I imagine fear dissipating with the next breath, or out through an ear or… a nostril—don’t care where it escapes as long as it leaves. If something serious is happening let me face it when it is discovered, not now.

I slip my watch onto my wrist and discover that the time is correct. For a change. It may need a new battery. Or the timepiece may be past its prime. No object lasts forever. Uh, hold that thought until later. A lot later.

I discover that the pain in my arm is caused by a pinched nerve. Exercises that require weights will be off-limits for a while. A while may not have a definite end, but it does have one. Eventually.

Our push-back into an earlier non-electronic era ends as well. Apparently, our contact with the outside world had been stopped by a malfunctioning power brick.

So what is a power brick? I look it up and my virus protection warns me that the page isn’t safe. Other links assume I already know what a power brick is. Google images present pictures so diverse I feel as if I am a kindergartner who has drifted into an advanced technology class, or a pre-school kid who has volunteered to guide customers through Home Depot.

Anyone could easily guess I don’t know what I am doing. Let the experts install the master switch that guides my electronic universe. My husband and I thank our service technician and he thanks us for being pleasant customers.

I celebrate re-entry into the current century and take on gratitude.

My watch’s slowness can be faced later. “Uh, silver time-keeper, I’ll pencil you in for a checkup tomorrow at two.” Of course real life could make some other appointments in the meantime. Who knows? One day, one hour, one second as it develops.


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