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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom in unexpected places’

“Okay, my pen was here a minute ago.”

Life is an irritation. (Anatoly Karpov, chess master)

Our tech-friendly, easy-clean, comfortable recliner couch has found a way to annoy my husband and me.

It grabs cell phones, the remote control, important papers, and occasionally a container of dental floss. It slides them into cushion crevices or onto the floor, preferably inside well-shaded, flashlight-shy areas.

As we pull out the couch to retrieve the stolen items, plugs to the mechanical parts pull out from the wall.

As we sit, the comfy cushions caress us and widen the spaces between one beige square and another. The furniture isn’t prepared for two adults and an avalanche of items operated by arthritic fingers.

How easily I get stuck in broken places and forget the beauty of what I have—forget sun and crawl into shadow. In today’s argumentative atmosphere, anxiety fills the air like dust particles.

No perfect answer. Real life refuses to fit inside a fortune cookie. It refuses to see what is good, sincere, truthful.

I think I’ll check one more time and see if I can find perspective. In a moment of meditation, in intentionally focusing on large and small examples of kindness. Balance is rarely obvious but present. I wouldn’t know what goodness and truth were if I hadn’t experienced it. Touched it. Shared it. With someone who cared about integrity.

In this incredibly imperfect world, peace to all.

 

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Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain. (Vivian Greene)

Today is a Friday in September 2018. For the moment, I celebrate public internet before stepping into a previous century world. No land line, internet, or television thanks to a thunderstorm. Lightning struck the roof of an apartment building less than a block away.

Life changes in a flash. My writing and communication with readers and friends is contingent upon the wireless world. And yet—I am privileged. Dark skies can predict floods as well as a flood of what-ifs. I don’t need to stare into the gloom.

Now, in this almost silent moment, I pause to breathe, consider where I can give more and complain less. Dance in the rain, and then run for shelter when the lightning begins.

Peace, upon all.

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Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. (John Barrymore)

My grandson, Dakota, and I explore our backyard with his new red plastic truck. It’s large enough for him to sit on it. I’m grateful he realizes I would crush it. A septuagenarian squatting that low and then maneuvering the toy from a bug’s height, would be a sight for the neighbors. I wouldn’t want them to anticipate a 911-call.

“You know you won’t live forever,” he says.

“Yes, I do. That’s why I celebrate time with you, give to others, and love as much as I can.”

He doesn’t answer and continues playing with the truck. We create ramps from National Geographic Magazines. He rolls construction paper and tapes it with heavy tape. My granddaughters’ baby doll bottles in the center maintain firmness.

We let the moments speak for themselves, the challenge to roll or unroll. To go over the ramp with the truck or bypass it. If one tactic doesn’t work, Dakota tries another. My little buddy doesn’t give up easily.

I consider how quickly the notion, not-good-enough, flashes into my mind. I know it was taught to me in childhood. What isn’t good enough? The statement is too generic to be true. Nevertheless, the temptation to just-forget-it rises far too often. For most human critters, both young and old.

My friend, Cathie, calls. She hasn’t seen me at the Y for a while. Either I have been entertaining grandkids or working on my book. She has something to give me.

“When I saw this, all the bright colors,” she says, “I thought of you and just had to get it.”

I plan to meet Cathie. On Friday morning. At ten AM.

She has made a pillow. Cathie is a seamstress. She uses her gift to celebrate other people.

“It’s pre-hugged,” she says, holding the pillow through the plastic bag against her chest.

Since we have both been in the pool, we are soaking wet. A chlorine hug doesn’t negate the love attached to her or her work.

Life isn’t perfect. It never will be. However, with grandchildren like Dakota and friends like Cathie, sweetness is easier to find.

 

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I have come to believe that giving and receiving are really the same. Giving and receiving—not giving and taking. (Joyce Grenfell)

“Do pebbles grow into rocks?” my young step-grandson asks as he gathers odd-shaped stones and places them inside a cardboard treasure box. The box rides inside a red wagon.

I smile and tell him rocks are more likely to break into pebbles. I smile, but don’t laugh. His innocence warms me. He finds a tiny lock on the side of the road and adds it to his collection. Then, he puts it inside his pocket, to take home.

For him, all of life is a collection of serendipitous learning experiences. The tracks left by a bulldozer, a dusty trail made by the thin wheels of the collapsible, fabric wagon. The dusty wheels create mud after the wheels travel through a deep puddle.

The thought strikes me that rocks and keys may not be the unique metaphors I imagined them to be in my series, The Star League Chronicles. Black rocks act as weapons for the Malefics, the evil League. Chase Powers, the main character, operates an ancient, rusty, magical key. Sometimes, the key knows more than he does.

Sometimes play teaches me. And I haven’t been a child in a long time. My teacher-key contains no magic. Often its key is no more than a realization, a prod to notice a beauty I hadn’t noticed because I’d been stuck inside ubiquitous bad news forecasts.

This little boy trusts me. A breeze cuts through the afternoon heat. I am at peace despite that fact that I have an approaching deadline—and more words to write and edit than I want to think about. Right now, I could be pecking away at the non-magical keyboard-keys (pun semi-intended.) With the hope of creating magical scenes.

Instead, I follow a red wagon into a child’s imagination and allow my love for this boy to expand.

Work challenges will continue tonight…and tomorrow…weeks after. Until the story fits into a whole.

For now, I give and receive experience. And hope to remember this beautiful day in the middle of July.

 

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Serendipity always rewards the prepared. (Katori Hall)

I stand on our partially wet, partially dry sidewalk and wave to our neighbor as he leaves his house. He waves back. During that short pause, the daily newspaper lands at my feet. The delivery man’s arm and back of his head are all I can see as he continues on his rounds.

To the right of the newspaper are damp yellow daylilies. A perennial that returns and blooms even though passing deer often choose the bright blossoms as a part of our neighborhood’s buffet.

Ah, I’ve heard of door-to-door delivery, but never six-inches-from-your-right-toe service. An accident maybe, but I’ll take it.

Inside the paper will be a comic page, death notices, and stories that could cause me to wince. Another layer of everyday life wrapped in an orange plastic tube. The completed package.

Completion. I wonder if there is a certain misunderstanding of the notion. Sure, I can complete a single chore. All that is expected of me on this journey? I may not be the final judge. All I can do is I watch for the serendipities, the blessings inside dark and light. They appear along the way.

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The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. (J.M. Barrie, novelist and playwright)

Random, dead, moss-covered wood. I’ve felt a kinship with it at times. Yet, the fallen logs create artistic patterns. Hollow centers offer homes for wildlife.

My husband and I walked under a lacy shade of branches. They protected the ground from the late-May heat. The pattern of dead and alive seemed to ramble, aimless. Nevertheless, there was a wholeness to the scene.

Recently, my husband and I attended an event. I am intentionally vague about whether the event was a picnic, graduation, family reunion, or none of the above. The setting was accidental; the story reveals a story within a story, the one that occurred instead of the one planned.

One of the guests passed out after a possible seizure. An individual honored at that moment ran to her defense. She saw the need for a 911 call. Two of the attendees were nurses and two were doctors. They assisted the fallen person more thoroughly than the paramedics did.

After the ill guest was taken to the hospital, any separated groups bonded. A different story developed based upon mutual care and love. We met as friends, not strangers.

I hoped to hold onto that intimate feeling forever. Then I totaled my car the same day my husband and I returned home. A tree won when the accelerator stuck…or I missed the brake…or fate decided my time with Little Beige should end. I don’t know what happened. This incident was the first in my years behind the wheel. It doesn’t matter how the accident happened. My 2005 Toyota will soon become junkyard fodder.

Like the dead branches my car has a history. Soon to be buried. I am okay, relatively anyway. So is my husband. We were not physically injured.

Neighbors arrived immediately. With offers to help. With support. With the difference between rotting in the moment and survival.

The story changed. I am not the only character in my tale. Nor, am I the only heroine. And that is what makes the difference. Sometimes, simple actions may have saved someone more than anyone will ever know.

Thanks to all who take that extra step forward.

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alienI believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out. (Arthur Hays Sulzberger)

When rain turns ground into mud, and mud spreads through everyday life, maybe I need a cleansing breath or two before getting out the spiritual mop.

A good imagination helps.

A creature like one of my grandchildren’s toys becomes an alien—the outer space variety. He has a name, but it isn’t pronounceable with a human tongue. I call him A-Z, because it is as close as earth interpretation can get. He lands close to a town and enters in the darkest hour of night.

A-Z sees only one person on the sidewalk. The alien’s intuition is strong enough to catch not only the individual’s language, but feelings. This character could be fictional—or it could be me. The alien sends messages of love. Does the earth resident receive them or see only differences?

Oh, I have ideas about how the person on the street could respond with fear and begin an intergalactic war. I also imagine a blind woman who isn’t limited by visual first impressions.

I believe in an open mind. But, exposed to the elements of reality, it gets muddy now and then. Time to return to real life…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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