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If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.

I played the guitar for camp campfires for years. I tried to get my kids to learn to play. Two weeks before one of them started as a camp counselor, they asked me to teach them the guitar. Needless to say, in 2 weeks you had a pretty good beginner but not an expert. As we were dropping her off at camp, the head of the camp said to me, “When she gets good, I’ll have her play for the campfire.” My comment was to the effect that they wouldn’t have a guitar all summer.

I said to him, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.” He looked at me and questioned my sanity. I knew that at a campfire, the guitar sets out on a key and the tempo which may or may not be matched by the singing voices. The kids were interested in the S’mores and fooling around for the last hurrah before bed time. There wasn’t anyone else of the counselors that played any instrument. I said “If you just have her play, she will actually be good within a few weeks – at least for what she and you want at the campfire.”

If it was a musical concert for a Senior grade or audition, then one would need to really practice and get good before doing something publicly. At night, around a campfire, and in the dark, the quality of the music is not what is desired. It is to start the song, get the tempo and get everyone involved and having fun singing. All of that is more important than the quality.

Later in the summer I saw the director at a meeting. He looked at me in amazement and said “You were right, She is great now.” I had tried to teach my college education peers to do autoharp in their classrooms if they didn’t have a music teacher in their school. People had told them over and over that they couldn’t carry a tune or sing and they lived into that expectation. I believed in them. Every one starts out with 3 notes “Nah, Nah, ne Nah Nah”. The rest is expanding the range and the quality. Most of them succeeded by the end of our time together to keep trying. Some never tried and just gave up.

Sometimes we fail to try things because we don’t know them. We fail to try things because we know we won’t be any good at it – at least right away. There are very few people that can be accomplished the first time they try something. Fear of failure can keep you from having fun and exploring new things. Hence my saying “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly.” Try it. The photo above was one of about 10 that I took of the same sky. Taking just 1 means you might miss something great. One has to look at an image and take different perspectives, different view points, and even try something new in order to really get that great shot you see in your mind.

Be willing to fail. Be willing to try new things. Be willing to learn and grow.

“You can just fire me” or ” You can discern your spiritual gifts lie elsewhere”

I was talking to my pastor about a new endeavor I was willing to try and learn at church. I was giving permission for the fact that I might not be good at it. I said “You can just fire me!” With love and grace came these words “Or you can discern that your spiritual gifts lie elsewhere.”

I got these open hands pictured in the photo in Cherokee South Carolina. I have a book by Henri Nouwen “With Open Hands”. Open hands reminds me that with closed fists we can’t receive God’s grace or blessings. You also can’t hang on to what will lift you up and save you. I have participated with the Mennonite practice of discernment at a retreat. It was an intense and life changing experience for me and those in the group.

That experience was a number of years ago and in its place for me is the Ignatian principles for making prayerful decisions. We are complex people with complex issues and sometimes things aren’t so clear nor are answers forthcoming. I offer these guideline from the Marquette website to see if this might interest you so that you can use them as well.

It starts with 7 attitudes: 1. Openness, 2. Generosity, 3. Courage, 4. Interior Freedom, 5. A habit of prayerful reflection on one’s experience – the examen of Consciousness, 6. Having ones priorates straight and 7. Not confusing ends with means. Next is 3 distinct times to do this: one when you have certainty about wat to do, or feeling inner conflict or you are absolutely clueless about what to do. Then there are 7 practical discernment techniques. For more you can google Marquette Ignatian Guidelines.

I was in the process of discerning which of my new opportunities I should be focusing on for the next 6 months. This method is good for day to day decisions as well as big decisions. Since I retired, I have not always used the deeper spiritual practices. Then came the riots and insurrection of January 6th. What I had felt I was making decisions on seemed small and insignificant. I am now in the process of using discernment for how I will respond to that day, the rioters, the congress people and those I know. I have responded to my congressional people – I write once or more a week to share my thoughts anyway. This is different. I immediately shared some posts on Facebook and Twitter. Now I feel frozen. I am in the process of discerning what to do next.

I know I am going to make sure of the sources I am sharing to make sure they are true. I am NOT going to be silent or just on the fringe of discussions. I helped with the 2020 November election calling people. I am going to try to continue to be active. I am trying to use my spiritual practices – Ignatian discernment and my Protestant Prayer beads. I know I must go deeper with open hands so that I am stable and strong in who I am and am healing.

There is a story about a young boy who was hitting an inflatable clown punching bag. Every time he hit it, it went down and came back up. His father asked why he thought that happened. The young boy said, “I think that the clown is standing up on the inside.”

January 6th 2021 made me feel like I was getting gut punched over and over. I am in the process of trying to heal myself inside so that I can stand up on the inside and the outside. Only then can I truly listen and not just hit back. I need to speak truth about a terrible insurrection and almost loosing our democracy because a president I didn’t vote for and have hated every one of his spewing conspiracy theories and almost 30,000 lies sent people at his rally to do his bidding to get ride of the electoral college votes and people that opposed him. It isn’t just Trump but the Congress people that stood up even after the riot and still spewed lied about a free and fair election. It isn’t just Trump but so many people that are willing to support a bully and liar with violence and insurrection.

I still feel afraid for what lies ahead for our nation. Between more violence possible January 17th and 20th and the Covid issue, I am uncertain about the future. I need to listen to others but it is hard to have a dialogue when others don’t care to listen to me and still believe conspiracy theories and lies that President Trump has shared – echoed in news media and social media. I need to share truth and make sure I stand up for social justice for all. I am working on keeping my hands open to God and seeking guidance for my future.

The open hands tell me I am not alone. The open hands tell me to reach out to others. The open hands tell me to hold the truth out to others to see. The open hands tell me to scatter the seeds of truth and let God do the growth.

The term “mix” should be self explanatory but it’s not.

This was my grandmother’s spoon. I was named after her and she taught me many things.

My mom’s mom taught me to knit and crochet and she tried to teach me to cook. You can’t really tell it but one side of the metal spoon is actually worn down from use. Aunt Emma lived on the farm and had a sugar cookie recipe that we did when ever we wanted a lot of cookie dough to do cut out cookies. I didn’t realize this until later in life that most other sugar cookie recipes only had 3 cups of flour – this one uses 6 cups. I had made sugar cookies with this spoon at grandma’s house when I was in grade school. I had made sugar cookies at our house with this spoon after grandma died and I wanted something to remember her by.

Every time we made sugar cookies the process was the same. Mom would give me the ingredients one at a time and I would “mix” them together. Fast forward to after college and I am living on my own on the south side of Chicago. I wanted to make sugar cookies for a teacher’s meeting/party we were having. I had just enough time to get them cooked because I lived across the street from school and I knew they would be warm but really good at the meeting.

The recipe had the ingredients listed and said “MIX” and that was all. I put everything into the bowl and took my trusty spoon from grandma but it wasn’t right. I called my mom in a panic and I said “I didn’t write it down right. I must have missed some ingredients!”. She found her recipe and read everything off and they were the same. I was in a panic “But it didn’t work!”.

There was a slight pause and mom said “You creamed the sugar first – right?” I almost screamed “It just says “MIX”! There was this sigh on the other end of the phone. She walked me through the whole recipe and they were baked and ready for the meeting/ party although I was a little late.

What I didn’t know is that all old recipes just said “MIX”. You were to know you creamed the sugar first and then added the next ingredient and the next. They were in the order you were to mix them – but mix them one by one instead of putting everything into the bowl all at once.

I have always marveled that the Christmas cookies we made were basically all the same ingredients. The amount and the order made them really taste and look different. The term MIX does need interpretation. I have found other people who are the children of these different ages of cooking. They have the old family farm recipes that say ‘MIX’ and then they have the new cookbooks that spell it out step by step. Today you can even watch YouTube for see how to do things. I believe that is because we aren’t close enough to “grandma’s” house to learn how to cook the way grandma did. There is something to be said to stand beside and with grandmas and learn from them. There is Zoom and FaceTime but there is something about you grandma’s hand over yours and the ingredients handed to you one by one that makes a world of difference.

It doesn’t always work though. My grandmother made the most wonderful divinity candy in the world. My mother did not. Every time she made dimity, it was a failure. One time grandma stood on the left side of the stove and mom on the right side. Each had the same size pan. Each had the same size spoon. Each put in the ingredients at the same time. Grandma’s turned out wonderful and my moms was a flop like it usually had been at our home.

MIX can also be misinterpreted in other ways. One time we had a group together and had 1 frozen can of pineapple and 1 frozen can of orange juice. I was in a hurry so I asked my husband to MIX them. As we are sitting at the table, I realized there weren’t 2 pitchers but just 1 large one at the table. I asked “Where is the other one?” His response was “You told me to MIX them.” I meant to mix one frozen can in a pitcher and then repeat the process in another pitcher. He put both cans in one pitcher and MIXED them.

What should be a simple word can be so complicated and misunderstood at times. With this new year, remember to “hear” people and do some active listening. In the case of the frozen juice cans, it would have been “Do you want me to mix both cans in one pitcher or mix them in separate pitchers?” Sometime arguments and bad misunderstandings come from not hearing what message was really being said or not speaking clearly to be heard. Take a breath and hear a sigh and find out what is really being asked of you or you asking of another person.

I don’t always sing, Oh wait, Yes I do

Me playing clarinet on TV in 1963

I don’t remember a time I didn’t love music. I was a music major in college in my 20’s trying to teach fellow college student in education classes how to play the autoharp. That was the first time I realized that not everyone could look at music on a page and hear it in their head and understand it and play it.

I started playing piano in 2nd grade. My piano teacher said to sing along with the songs. I did that then and just kept on singing. I taught myself to play autoharp and then taught my mother. She was a 3 and 4 year old Sunday School teacher and wanted to teach them songs. We would sing with the piano and learn the songs and then she would teach them to the kids. In 5th grade I started on the clarinet. In 6th grade I taught myself guitar so I could play at the campfires at camp. In college I played E flat and B flat clarinets.

In Junior high and Senior high I would play the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals – among other things. When I came home from school I sat down and played. If you would have taken my hands off the keys of the piano and asked me what I was playing, I couldn’t tell you. My mother said she could hear me work out the days frustrations. When it sounded like music, she knew that I was ok. I thought I was smarter than her because after supper, my mother said “You can help me do the dishes or practice your piano.” It wasn’t until years later that I realized it took her 30 minutes or more every night to do the dishes.

I loved musicals. I loved Disney and all the music they have given the world. I played clarinet in the stage orchestra for the community Fiddler on the Roof for 14 performances. I played for other musicals and was stage crew for them but never on stage singing in a musical. My children have and they have enjoyed being on stage, being stage crew and enjoyed music in many forms.

When my kids were in the womb, I would “play” for them on the piano every day and sing to them as well as read to them. I would play classical music in the car when I was pregnant and when they were toddlers on up. Thanks to my sister we also had plenty of Disney songs to sing along with and listen to. I also had tapes for night time to go to sleep with classical music. As they turned to adults, our children have said when they heard some classical music “That sounds familiar”.

One time our family was at Disneyworld and we went to the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast with Mary Poppins and Tiger etc. The characters came over to our table and asked if we knew any Jonas brothers songs and wanted to sing along. Our son said “No” but he knew Mary Poppins song. Mary Poppins invited him to sing and dance with her and they did it wonderfully. Mary Poppins and he sang and danced around the tables and he sang with Tiger. Other people were videoing the event but we just watched. Mary Poppins said as she left “You could give Bert a run for his money.”

While the High School band took a trip to California Disneyland, my son was waiting in a multiple hours wait line with his friends for a ride. They bet him that he couldn’t keep singing Disney songs until they got to the ride. He sang while they waited, he sang during the ride and he was still singing when he got off. Thanks sis for a great job in training him. He would go with my sister and mom to Disney on a regular basis and he was the motor pushing my mom’s wheel chair.

Many parents yell at their junior high and senior high kids to get up in the morning when they would rather sleep in. I would sit on the edge of their beds singing nursery rhymes and camp songs until they got up. My oldest daughters husband will say to her when she sings at the table “Now Barb, we don’t sing at the table.” My middle daughter was a camp counselor for foster kids at a summer camp and she had the 15 year old girls. One day she called in tears. “They wouldn’t get up this morning and I started singing to them!” She said “I have become my mother after all”.

Yes my mother was in musicals when she was in school. Yes she made sure I had music in my life (as well as my siblings). When I was little, I wouldn’t take naps so the doctor said “Play some music for her to go to sleep.” The first week she tried it, I dance through all the 78 rpm records she played. After that it did settle me down to sleep. Thanks Mom for all the music that has flowed through our generations.

Last year, my sister gave me a t-shirt for Christmas which said “I don’t always sing, Oh wait, Yes I do.” I think the world would be a much better place if people would break into dancing and singing. As the new year comes – sing – dance – enjoy the moment and life. Music makes the world go round and makes it a much better place to be when you are singing and dancing through life.

You only had ONE job

We set off each morning on a new adventure in life. Sometimes our path is successful, and sometimes we fail. This is a story about a temporary failure but a lesson learned in how to focus – even if you aren’t sure where your path will take you that day.

This day was one where I went alone to Walmart to get my husband’s medicine. I went first to the pharmacy and in my turn talked to the pharmacist and paid for my husband’s meds. We joked together and had a short conversation. I thought “As long as I am here maybe I should see if there is something I might need”. To no ones surprise I found other things to buy. My cart was filling up.

Because my hips and knees give me trouble, I use an electric cart to shop – especially on the days I want to browse. The problem is that late in the afternoon or night, many of the carts batteries are almost drained and in need of charging. Many a time I have been left in the back by the milk with no “juice” and have to wait for someone to come and notice me and get another cart.

This day I was left high and dry by the large TVs but fortunately there are lots of people there and soon someone was bringing a new cart but it was almost dead too. I quickly get my packages from the old cart to the new one and took off to check out. I was focused on the process of heading back to check out before I loose electric power on this cart when my husband calls. He informs me that the pharmacist says that his medicine is at the pharmacy. I say “I already got it” and he said “Can you check?” Sure enough, when I exchanged carts the small med package was missed and didn’t get put into the new cart. The person bringing the cart must have seen it and returned it to the pharmacy.

I go to the pharmacy and there is the pharmacist saying “You only had ONE job”. She knew that I had come just to pick up my husbands meds and somehow I had failed at my one task. We now laugh about it. At home, we now use this phrase when we fail to finish what we start or we become distracted on our original task.

We all get busy. We all get distracted. The movie UP has the famous line for the dogs “SQUIRREL”. We think we have done the task but we fail to notice that we haven’t really finished it completely to the end before we start something else. Many things can intrude on our originals tasks and goals.

What can help? Write down lists and check them off. We do that for our grocery lists and check them off. One can get other things but the essentials have to be gotten first. Focus on one thing at a time. My mother always told me that I multi-tasked before that was a word. Sometimes details get missed in being finished because I have checked them off in my mind before I really finish them. Sometimes working on several things at a time works and sometimes it doesn’t. We all get busy. We all loose focus. We all get curves through into our journey – like on the photo – and even when the road is marked for us, we can’t always see through around the corners as to what is coming.

When days are busy and overcrowded with emotion and stress remember to say “You only had ONE job”. That is to say that you make sure the most important things that need to be done do get done without all the little things distracting you from your goal or task. Do the task at hand and follow through to completion. No one is perfect but learning to focus when things are exasperating can make a big difference on getting the whole list done.

Chronos vs Kairos

In Greek and in the Bible there are two kinds of time: Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is where we get the world Chronology. it is a specific amount of time. Your calendar that you use is a chronos type of event keeping. You plan and put something down on the date and time which it will occur.

Kairos is often translated as “in the fullness of time”. It is an opportune time moment one needs to both notice and realize it is happening.

Most of the time I live in a chronos world. I plan and I schedule and I follow it. Last night about 12 ish, my stomach didn’t feel good so I got up and had a banana. To my surprise, I didn’t need to have the lights on because the full moon was so bright through the windows that the light filled the moon. I took my cell phone to capture the moment in time.

I just sat there and let all of the view soak in because I am aware that cell phone and camera I use just wouldn’t do the scene justice. I share a glimpse of the light in the photos above. You can see in one that the light came through the door and illuminated the house floor.

We all need our Chronos time but don’t miss those moments of Kairos. Be aware of the “ah ha” moments and let them sink in. There is a kids book which also is informative for adults. “Frederick” by Leo Lionni talks about a group of mice that thought Frederick wasn’t collecting things to help them survive the winter. He had soaked up the sun and other things and was a poet to help them have hope during the winter.

We all need hope and we need to take time to soak up that which will give us hope. Look for your Chronos times but don’t neglect your Kairos times.

One of Those Days?

We have black squirrels, grey squirrels, and red squirrels. This morning my sister took this picture of a red squirrel on the deck through the window. Usually we see them splayed out on the concrete in the shade in really hot afternoons trying to get cooled off. This was early in the morning when it was relatively cool. A few seconds later the squirrel was gone.

I don’t know if this little guy had been running all over – they do move fast – and needed to cool down before he ate at our bird feeders. The red squirrels curl up on the wooden rod on the side and just eat and eat while the bigger squirrels have to reach down to get seed by seed of the sunflowers.

When I was working and it was an overwhelming day, I would close my office doors, lay down on the floor and turn my classical music up and let it wash over me until I was ready to get up and get on with the rest of my day. Honestly, I saved the Overture of 1812 for propelling me into cleaning when I didn’t feel like it – or the Fire bird suite. The Four seasons was a good one for “floor” time as was oddly enough Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

We all have times that we are just flattened by what is going on around us. We need to plan to take care of ourselves to have what on might call “an exit” strategy to get up again. Sometimes it is talking to people. Sometimes it is music. Sometimes it might be reading. Sometimes it is prayer or meditation or just being quiet. There is a myriad of ways to help oneself come back from being flattened to the ground.

That being said there is also a need to acknowledge how we feel and stay flattened long enough to realize how down we are and then begin our recovery. Take care of yourself. Know when you are wounded and begin the healing process. Read Henri Nouwen’s The Wounded Healer to get more ideas. Share with others so they know they are not alone. Times can be tough so have those tough strategies ready when you need them.

Lonley vs being alone

Do you feel alone? Do you feel lonely? One can feel both alone and lonely either being alone or by being in a crowd. The feelings are real and sometimes hard to deal with. There is a saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. If a child is raised by a village, they know they are part of something bigger than themselves. They know who to go to when they are hurt, feeling alone, or needing help – even if it is just how to pick up a stitch you dropped in your project.

I had a great set of parents, grandparents and extended family. I had a great church community that I grew up in. One of the great people of the village of community and church was named Maud Lambert. There were many people at church that heard me stand up one Sunday, and say “I am going to the south side of Chicago and I don’t know where I was going to stay but by faith I was going”. One couple I had known my whole life in our smallish town came after church and told me that they were from Chicago and her sister lived on the North Side. It was a far commute but they said once I got down there I would find a place closer but it was a landing place for now. They were right. In one week I had a live in babysitting job about 6 blocks from my school.

I had been an intern teacher in Northern Wisconsin before going to Hyde Park. In Northern Wisconsin,I had the only apartment one could rent in the town of 600 and 4 days after I moved their, I got mail just having my name on it. It was a very small town. Moving to the south side of Chicago was going to be very different. Yet over time I got to see that Hyde Park was also a smallish community. I would recognize the people selling paper, walking their dogs and again I had a church community. The lady I was babysitting for had grown up in Hyde Park and taught me now to be careful but not afraid so I would take the kids to a park or walk around.

Back to my original village and Maud. She made me this Paddington Bear. She said to me, to remember her and the church and my family. I was going to a strange place far from home but I was bringing a friend with me that would always be there, would always remind me of the times – good and bad and indifferent – and I would know I would never be alone or lonely at least not for too long.

Today Paddington needs some repairs. You can see the stuffing coming out of one of his feet. He has lost his tag that said “Please look after this bear. Thank You”. He is soft to hug when one needs hugs and there are those that I have shared a Paddington’s hugs with friends in need. It seems like yesterday I was standing in Maud’s living. She had asked me to come over before I left and she was gave me this bear and gave me hugs. It is hard to realize that was 46 years ago. Paddington has aged well.

In this time of Covid, Paddington reminds me to remind others they are not alone. Your tag may read too “Please look after this person” or you can see a tag on someone else you can reach out to. Reach out – Zoom, Facebook, calls, porch and driveway visits. Get lost in a book -then share what you found. In the stories, Paddington gets into trouble but tries very hard to get out and with his friends and family finds his place.

Inside of each of us is this place, this vessel , that holds hope, grace, peace, silence and courage. Please talk about a glass half full or half empty. It is a glass. It is filled, it is emptied and filled again. We each need to fill ourselves inside with good things. It can be filled by music. It can be filled by hugs or by hugging – even a stuffed bear. It can be filled by giving and receiving a smile, a joke or a laugh. Open your eyes and find your village and people that will help fill you up. Walk away from situations that drain and try to destroy you. Find people and ways of communicating that lift you up. Find movies and books that do the same. Reach in, reach out and reach up. Find ways to give and find new ways of reaching out.

Mom-isms

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My mother and dad at our wedding in 1983.

With Mother’s Day a few days behind us, I still have been thinking about my mom who passed away in 2016.  I miss her as well as her wit.  These are some of her sayings and how they got to be “noted”.

Presentation is everything    Mom was at our house.  We needed to serve her meals and snacks but one time I was in a hurry and without meaning to, I just tossed a Sweet and Salty nut bar down in front of her.  She said “Presentation is everything”.  Every time I think about it, it reminds me that just “doing a job” requires more than the job itself.  It is in caring and sharing with others that we find things are more than just doing a job but going the extra mile.

If you can’t open it, you can’t eat it.    The same aforementioned bar was hard for Mom to open.  We gladly helped her but we often said “If you can’t open it, you can’t eat it”.  It was a way of not letting her give up on trying to do things for herself.

What I was younger I took piano lessons but didn’t like to practice.  Mom said to me “You can help me with the dishes or practice your piano.”  I thought I had picked the better bargain but in later years I realized she did the dishes for 30 minutes every night.  I don’t know if she stood there and just clanked the dishes or ran the water but she did get me to practices of my own free will – and of course by not doing the dishes!

When I came home from grade school and high school, she would ask “How did you day go?”  If I would come home upset, she would say “Try to see it from their point of view. Tell me how this person sees it.”  It was infuriating but helpful.  Fast forward to the early 2000 when I was preaching and my mom, sister, and our almost adult children were in the front pew.  I used this as an example.  In the middle of the sermon they all pointed to Mom and said out loud “It’s YOUR fault” because I had learned from the best on how to see things beyond ones own feeling.

I’ll count to 3.  She would say this as a way for us to choose to do something but sometimes she would count and get to 10 or say “3 1/16, 3 1/8, etc”.

Head for the hills  She said this when she was mad and let you know it though she never yelled at us.

When she and my father were building the house, my dad asked her to help measure something.  She would say “10 inches and 3 bumps”.  My dad would say “they are eighths, quarters and halves which bump is it”.  He was the General contractor and mason and made blueprints.  He was precise and thought because mom sewed and knew measurements, she could also get it right with a tape measure.

My mother died when she was 90 but in the years before that she would say “You girls think I’m still 60.  You are pushing me”.

Before I was in school and sometimes through grade school, my Dad’s dad would  give her what he called her “mad money” for buying collector plates and spoons from garage sales and church sales ( she wouldn’t buy anything over $1) and I would help find the clothing she wanted to make the Goethe prints with real dolls and the right outfits.

We live by Lake Wisconsin which has a ferry which goes over the water as a “state road”.  One day we were going to go but when we got there the line was so long it would have been 4 – 5 ferry trips before we got on.  She simply said “Grandma’s not gonna get a boat ride today”.

Sometimes we would encourage her to move faster and she would comment “Can you smell the burning rubber of my shoes melting”. Which was to say she was going as fast as she was going to go.

When she read the horoscopes, she would say “Today is a roller coaster type of day – Throw your hand up in the air and you scream on the way down”.

“I’m gonna step on you’re little piggy toe if you play such and such a card”  We would be sitting at the table playing card games and if someone looked like they were going out, and she had cards to play, she might say that if we played such and such she would step on our little piggy toes under the table as a way to let us know she didn’t want us to play that card(s).

Mom had no depth perception and my dad tried to teach her to drive when they first married.  He would say “We don’t need to take that bridge home with us” when she was to close to the right edge.  “Your not a moth so don’t take aim for the light” when she would go to far over the center line.  We all thought it was better for her and the world that others would always drive her.

You don’t know what you miss until it is gone.  It is great remembering all the things that were part of our relationship but realizing that there are no new “mom-ism” coming up in the future.

Change is difficult

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It’s been a wild spring.  First it’s warm and rainy and then it snowed and was below freezing for a week.  I worried about the trees that were budding and what the freeze would do to their leaves.  A few days have been sunny and warm.  The trees are starting to get their buds going.  Yet as I took the picture of the new life and buds, this oak tree still has leaves that haven’t dropped from last fall.

Change is difficult.  There is a book “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf” by Leo Bascaglia.  It is about a leaf that has to make the decision to “fall” from the tree and life he knew and “fall” into the unknown.  The book is about life and death.  This spring with Covid 19 has been about life and death and where wisdom lies in how to keep life.  The words “change is difficult” doesn’t begin to describe how life is in the United States and around the world have existed.  The longing for going back to the “good old days” or “getting back to normal” is still there but the reality doesn’t exist.  Like the series Outlander, we have been transported to a new reality and new time, however, there is no going back.

There is hope.  Hope spring eternal is the saying that comes to mind.  There is spring and new life but it sure has been difficult for things to get going.  People have asked “How are you doing?”  The “stay at home” for us is like when we are snowed in during the winter.  We have things we do and we keep more than busy.  Yet, there is a longing for family and people and gatherings.  I had read somewhere that where there is high technology in use, there needs to be high personal touch – mind to mind, hug to hug.  All ages have been transported to high technology in these days but the high touch is limited.

Mindfulness, meditation, reading and exploring with the mind, sorting and crafting, seeking and finding, listening to music or playing, saving and pitching, cleaning and ignoring the dust – we are complicated people that need to reach out and reach within.

We all develop patterns of how we handle things like crisis, angst, death, worry etc.  People that have developed manageable response to these stresses in their life will come out ok on the other side of what we are going through.  “Front line people’ will probably be dealing with PTSD for the rest of their lives. All of us are marked in ways we still don’t understand.  Out lives will never be the same but will have lives and hope and people to see and hug.

I wish for all those reading this as way forward by faith, by perseverance, by God’s grace and mercy.  It will come with tears.  It will come with new realities.  Like the Grinch that stole Christmas, we will see the world and understand it in a different way because we have come to understand a new reality.

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