Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Glorious...


Glorious. There's no other word for the weather of the past two 
days here in my little corner of the world. Sunshine, blue skies, 
low humidity, comfortable temperatures...and this morning, a 
memorably beautiful sunrise, the sky alight with pinks and blues, 
with light and shadow of the sort to drive any artist to her canvas, 
knowing that capturing this spectacle with brushstrokes would 
likely be impossible.

As I sit here on my screened porch, I am surrounded by the 
music of birdsong, by the persistent scritch of cicadas, by the 
whisper of an occasional breeze though the trees, and I am 
virtually overcome with a sense of well-being, of joy, of gratitude 
for this very ordinary day of my life. With book in hand, here I 
sit, sometimes reading, sometimes simply being...listening...
absorbing the peace and loveliness of this July afternoon.

Life, after all, is actually made up of moments...strung together 
like a strand of pearls...precious, each one, but infinitely more 
beautiful when strung together, one after another...cherished 
memories to be touched and fingered and worn with pride and 
often-inexpressible joy. 


I wish for each and all of you a lovely, moment-filled day. 
Love, Linda

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Reaching Out...Can't We Just Get Along?

 
In May of 1996, I was part of a workshop and discussion held at an
African-American church in Greensboro, NC. The topic was race
relations, and the events of this past week in Florida and
throughout this nation reminded me of the way I felt at that time,
after listening to so many of the truly angry black speakers taking
the microphone and speaking of their personal and collective pain...
a pain they emphasized that those of us with white skin could never
really understand. I found myself taking the microphone myself
that day and, with tears in my eyes, appealing to my sisters and
brothers of another skin color to know and see and realize that
I was truly trying to understand...trying to rid myself of my
part in the racism so prevalent in our society...trying to reach
out, only to find my hand figuratively slapped aside, my efforts
rejected. I recalled this week the total frustration I felt that
long-ago day and when I came home, I took pen in hand and,
as is my way, put my feelings down on paper in the form of a
poem. And so, today, I share these words and feelings with you-
and you and you...in the hope that somehow, we WILL be able
to reach past our individual feelings and frustrations to take
the hand being offered to us, regardless of its color, in the belief
that it is being offered in all sincerity, from an overflowing heart.

A BEGINNING
I am a woman.
   I was born that way...
      it was not a choice I made,
      an option given me...
         to be or not to be female.
It is who I am...
   as surely as you are a man.

My skin is white.
   I was born that way...
      it was not a choice I made,
      an option given me...
         to be or not to be white.
It is who I am...
   as surely as you are black or brown, yellow or red

I am heterosexual.
   I was born that way...
      it was a choice I made,
      an option given me...
         to be or not to be heterosexual.
It is who I am..
   as surely as you are homosexual.

I know I cannot get inside your gender...
   inside your skin...inside your sexuality.
      As for walking a mile in your shoes-
      they don't fit and I stumble and fall...
         get us and fall again.

I want to KNOW you...
   I'm willing to try to understand...to feel...
      to hear your pain...to walk with you...
Don't shut me out because of who I am...
   don't turn me off...
   don't look away...
       please don't discount my being who
       God created me to be-
             female
             white
             heterosexual...true.

But I can't help being me any more than
   you can help being you.
It's something that we share, you see...
   you created to be you...
   me created to be me...
                             so-
         CAN  WE JUST START FROM THERE?


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Those Senior Moments...

Re-shelving and sorting books today, putting them in alphabetical order by author, since that is the way I have found it is easiest for me to find the one I want. Surprisingly, I am far more likely to recall the author than the title of a particular book. I say surprisingly because I am increasingly subject to those little memory slips, lightly called "senior moments" by those who don't yet have them (though they will...I promise). For instance, today I was emailing a friend with the names of several other people who would be attending a meeting and one name just...went. Could not think of it for the life of me...though I could clearly picture the person's face, could even hear her voice. But do you think her name would come? Blank- that was my mind- one big blank.

But in the book sorting today I encountered a book I had forgotten
I had. Amidst my many, many, many volumes of poetry by various
and sundry poets, there was Forever Fifty by Judith Viorst. Now I am
clearly far beyond fifty, but the poems in this amusing little volume
still resonate with me even as I am far closer to old age than middle
age (I can only still consider myself in the latter category if I figure
I'll live to one-hundred-forty!) And one seemed especially fitting as I contemplated those little memory slips which seem to plague me
more and more these days. It's called "Eight Basic Facts about
Memory" and I share it with you, with a tip of the hat to Judith.

The fact that people don't stop you when you ask them to stop
     you if you've told them this story
Doesn't mean that you haven't told it before.

The fact that you're only buying a couple of items at the store
Doesn't mean that you don't need to bring a list to the store.

The fact that you're put the passports in such a safe place that
     they couldn't possibly get lost
Doesn't mean that you actually, currently know where they are.

The fact that you've parked your car carefully
Doesn't mean, when the movie is over, that you will still recall
     where you parked the car.

The fact that you rushed upstairs because there was something you
     desperately needed in your closet
Doesn't mean, once you get there, that you'll recollect why
     you came.

The fact that you've known a person for thirty-five years
Doesn't mean, when you go to introduce him, that you can count on
     remembering his name.

The fact that you said good-bye and walked out the door
Doesn't mean that you won't be back immediately in order to get
     all the things you left behind.

And the fact that...
And the fact that...
And the fact that, the fact that, the fact that...

It's slipped my mind.


Of course, I also take comfort from the wisdom of a long-time
friend, a bit my senior, who told me many years ago, "As we get
older, we seem to forget more because we have so much more in
there to forget...more knowledge, more experiences, more
memories." Yes, I think I'll take that explanation- so much nicer
than "Senior Moments". And you have my permission to borrow
it any time you wish. After all, we "seniors" have to stick together,
don't we?
 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Into the Unknown...

The ancient navigators sailed straight into the mouth of the unknown,
wagering all. -DIANE ACKERMAN in Deep Play

Have I ever done that...sailed into
the mouth of the unknown...
risking everything?

Going to seminary felt that way
at times...the long drive to an
unfamiliar place...returning to a
place of learning but this time
tackling subjects which were Greek to me...
gambling that my husband and son
would manage somehow...that
I could somehow balance all of
the disparate elements of my life...
cover all the bases myself- be pitcher,
catcher, and clean-up hitter in a
four-year game without rules or
clear boundaries- and few guides
to show the way.

Going to Africa felt that way
at times...the lengthy travel to an
unfamiliar place...a sense of return
to a place of heart connection, yet
surrounded by different languages,
different cultures...gambling that
all would be well at home...that
I could somehow balance the many
sights, sounds, smells, demands
which this new old world placed
on me...trusting in the "guides"
I met to show me the way.

So- what unknowns remain
ahead of me? What new and
demanding and dreadfully
wonderful voyages remain?
And will I dare to risk
                         yet again?



Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Simple Things...

And suddenly it is mid-July...summer is simmering, and here in Carolina the rains have been on-going, breaking records from the mountains to the coast, while forest fires continue to rage in the west. Reminds me to be grateful for whatever each day holds, however it unfolds. And summer foods are a special gift: home-grown tomatoes, corn-on-the-cob, peaches, watermelon, blueberries, green beans, peppers...virtually all of my favorite fruits and vegetables, making each dinner table a veritable rainbow of colors, a cornucopia of flavors.  

 The grands are loving summertime, too, spending long hours outdoors and relishing every moment of the somewhat intermittent sunshine. I see them growing brown and strong and, again, I give thanks for the gift of their presence in my life.

Now that I have more time for myself, I have been cooking and baking, loving the time in the kitchen, imbuing each recipe with lots of love for all those who will share the abundance with me. I picture the smiles on their faces as, together, we relish each bite and the blessing of shared food.

Life is overflowing with simple things right now- doing laundry, occasionally cleaning, cooking, reading, napping. And I'm taking a great strength and flexibility class twice a week to help keep myself in as good shape as this 70-something woman can be, accompanied by my Friday yoga class. I won't call them fun, exactly, but these classes do make me feel better and I truly appreciate the patient teachers who work with us.

More time, too, for friends...dinner with one next week, lunch with another...and I had a couple of delightfully lengthy phone conversations this week with far-away friends, almost (but not quite) as good as hugs. Next weekend I'm visiting with three of the grands, and August promises visits with my daughter and granddaughter in Wilmington as well as a trip to Arlington to visit my youngest sister and her family.

It really is about gratitude, isn't it? Thankfulness for EVERY PART of these days, these simply beautiful, wonderful days of my life...for what more could I possibly want or need than good food, precious friends, and loving family? LIFE IS GOOD😊...and today, I give thanks.