Monthly Archives: July 2012

What did you say? No, what’s on second, who is on first.

Ever have one of those experiences where you look around to see if maybe there is a hidden camera lurking some where, maybe in the bushes or that man’s lapel or that ladies hat? I had one just this afternoon. Let me say to begin with that you need to put yourself in the mode of a forty-something movie with Laurel and Hardy and Victor McLaughlin and Michele-en having a discussion on the steps of the parish church. Get my drift?

I came out of church on the large parking lot side (a point of reference only, just let it suffice that the large parking lot side is more of the ‘main’ entrance than the front of the church), stopping for just a brief moment to say hi to Joan and Dick Shannon who were waiting  for anyone interested in RCIA to ask a question. Joan asked me how my day was, I said my son came down and spent some time with Mom. Dick was not really part of our conversation as a participant, but a more of an observer. I then told Joan that my son changed my toilet seat for me. The two of us celebrated the changing of the seat in proper Mom manner.

Dick, on the other hand, was in a different mode with that pronouncement. He said, “Why didn’t you do it yourself, its simple.” Where by I said “I am a secretary not a Toilet Seat Putter-on-er.” And it was there that this very simple conversation took that, well for want of a better explanation, Hollywood turn.

As Dick went on in his view of the simplicity of changing a toilet seat and the mechanics of the job itself, more of our acquaintances joined us on the tiles outside the church in the sunny California late afternoon. And these innocent participants only heard the last few words of Dick’s discourse on the Toilet Seat Caper. One offered that it was her son that called the person who changed her seat. Another contributed that it was not so very expensive and worth the peace of mind that the seat was securely attached and would not wobble. For a brief moment there was a detour into sons and their wonderful assistance to their Mom’s when Mom needed something as important as the Toilet Seat Changed. The third offered to check into her purse for that nice young man’s number who helped her when she was in need of a Toilet Seat Changed.

It was at this point in this wonderful lively discourse that I just had to step in and set the conversation back on tract. I stepped up, put my hands on the first two ladies shoulders and said “excuse me, I just told Dick my son Changed my Toilet Seat today, not that I needed the Toilet Seat Changed. He believes it is a task that any one of us can do, secretary or not”. To that these sweet ladies snorted and said ” Why should I do that when I have a perfectly good young man who will do it for me and I don’t have to do anything!”

It was at that juncture I saw the better part of valor on my part was a swift and sure exit. I nodded, smiled, waved at Joan, said I would see her on Monday and exited stage left.

Who says comedy is only in  the theater?!

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Sunday’s Silence

I am sitting at my computer’s desk, looking across my small living room to the almost closed shutters along the front windows of my little condo here in the Village this warming to hot early Sunday afternoon. I am sitting is almost perfect silence. My dogs, DaBoys, Pepper and Yuri, are snoozing next to me, one on either side of my chair. I can see the blue bird nest hanging on the tree outside the windows and hear the chicks as they call to their parents for more juicy worms please. Even the traffic over the wall is somehow more reverent in its swishing instead of roaring. My two fountains are gently singing their water songs in softly splashing chorus. A perfect Sunday’s Silence.

More profoundly felt after the storms of the last few weeks. It was like being on the inside edge of the hurricane. I could not get to the calm of the eye to see clearly but was tossed about like a little dingy in the raging storm. I believe the writer who said that one cannot ever understand calm without being through the gale is a sage under the guise of anonymity.

The emotional cyclone I was being swirled around seemed to start in the center of me to soon engulf every tiny corner of my mind and especially my emotions. I finally realized that it was way bigger than me, that I could never get above it to see its range without a guide. When I went to the therapist, I knew deep down that some of the whispers may not be completely true or even have any even tiny particle of the truth to them. But my little dingy-heart was too tossed for me to even grab hold of the gunwale. I remember my prayer, in that desperate little-girl cry-whine to God; Help me! I cannot even tell if you are still there. These words are so horrible. Help me God! Give me the tools to get out of this storm!!! (Guess me and the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee have something in common. Probably more than just that if I think about it.)

And he did. Something so simple as to be hidden in plain sight so to speak. Write the thought down, check its authenticity—and it must be 100% true, change the thinking when the truth is found during the check. When I walked out of the therapist office I felt the darkness just slither away from me, (watch out, I think it is hiding in the stairwell!). The light of truth dispels all darkness. As I drove home that afternoon my very soul was thanking God for is care of me of its own accord. No prompting or I should’ve, just thanksgiving in its purest form. God healed me.

Alas, the darkness had one more trick up its sleeve, it does get a bit like a two-year-old having a tantrum when it looses. The next morning I had the worst migraine I have ever had. Couldn’t work, couldn’t eat, couldn’t take my boys out for their walk (although their sad sighs made me go a short way), couldn’t drive. I felt down for the count. I even broke down and went to the doctor it was so bad.

“Better living through chemistry” might have been a marketing tool, but it sure worked for me. New migraine meds, pain pills to knock it on its proverbial butt and I recovered. Another ride home with thanksgiving on my lips coming from the heart. And blessing on my friend Pat, who came to my aid and made sure I got everything I needed.

And then the gift of sitting in my little house with my dogs at my side just basking in and absorbing the peaceful silence. Mom just arrived with new tasty treats for the newest Bluebird family additions. Happy chirping now. All is right with the natural world around me today. A soothing balm to my tired spirit is this peaceful sea it traverses today. Think I’ll drop anchor in the safe harbor over there.

 

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Dragon Breath and Laughing Waters

 

I made an appointment with my therapist. Not the one for the bones, the one for minds. Now some of you readers might think we oldsters (defined as those no longer on the steep upside of twenty, or thirty, or forty, or even fifty) are weakening in our old age and just can’t handle life any more ’cause it passed up by and we don’t like it. Whoa! are you on the wrong track and the wrong train with that!

I go to my therapist every so often to help me through a portion of my life that has overwhelmed my abilities. Everyone of the them. Not just the day-to-day stuff, most of us by my age are pretty darn good at that. It is that specter from the past rising up larger than a dragon setting its flaming eyes on me and leaning down, spraying and spitting its fiery breath at me attempting to turn me into a wispy, empty ash of a human being.

Must be nice now, maybe some of those reading this just don’t have their very own Dragons yet. Maybe their lives have really been like living in Strawberry Fields. I would like to think that there are some in this world who can actually drift through this life without trauma and general poop in their lives.  Isn’t that what we are all striving for when we attempt to eliminate the ugly, evil things from the world?

So, anyway, I’m going to the therapist. I have learned over the years I have lived and the things I have lived through that the therapist office is the best place to get my perspective on the truth back in focus. I make jokes about being not too “nutty”, but wonder when I am in the midst of one of these boughts, if it might just be a truer statement about my mental condition than I  even realize.  Some time with a guide through the labyrinth of my mind helps me see that I am not any more nutty than the next guy, mine just has a different flavor than that guy’s. 

Our modern life feeds the darkness of depression and despair. We are in the center of a society that tells us “me” is the ultimate experience. And what “me” wants, desires, does or doesn’t do is just fine. That idea goes directly against the nature of being human. And when that nature is denied, deprived or separated the darkness begins to creep up around us to overwhelm us. Our nature is to be a connected human; a human, being in connection with other humans.  When the connection is stretched to the limit is when our hearts feel the terror of dis-connection.

And that is where I am right now. In the terror of dis-connection. Depression disconnects you from the stream of life. It sets you on the bank to watch others go floating by splashing and smiling. And while you are watching the flotilla happily drift by you even might throw a rock or two in your words or looks or closed-up face. Thanks be to God that he always  leads me to the soft comfy chair in the therapist office where I can start to dip my toes back into the sweet clear waters of life. Just making the appointment has quieted some of the more incessantly snippy voices of despair.

My feet are on the bank, I can feel the soft green grass of growth and hear the tinkle of the laughing Living Waters.

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A walk on the beach

A walk on the beach.

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A walk on the beach

There are some things about loving another person that, for me anyway, could just fade away and disappear. Things like the pain that comes with it. I’m talking about that heart-pain of not being with them.  I know, I know, I too can hear Gloria Steinem spouting her feminist mantra of “we are not defined by the attachment to a man”.  Yes, ooh guru of the Female Freedom Movement, true, we are not defined by that. You just seem to have forgotten the truth about being in love.

When my love says to me over the phone “I Love You” it feels like he is stroking my poor sore heart. The rush of warmth is a physical thing, it is not just an idea or a philosophy. This is the stuff life itself is made of. It is loving and being loved that keep this big blue marble we dwell on turning on its axis. It is love that defines me, Ms. Steinem, not you.

I went down to the sea yesterday. Down to Laguna’s Montage Resort beach. The beauty there is a blend of man-made and God-made. It was misty, cool with the marine layer hanging on the hills above the beach like white cotton candy. The beach was nicely not crowded, too cool for some, too early for others. (Though the Northern Mid-westerners where out, dressed in bathing suits and flip-flops pretending to us and themselves that it was not cold. You could see the words “Minnesota is sooo much colder than this. I survive winter there every year!” hanging in the air above their goose-pimply bodies.) This is my favorite way of being at the beach. I mostly go in the winter, those overcast, cool days when even the Minnesotans stay home. It has a serenity, an openness to the spirit that permeates all those parts of me that are struggling with sorrow and pain.

It is there, on the edge of the sand with the breakers splashing and crashing that my tension, my aching hurt is eased. Yesterday it was the separation from the man I love. Forced in some ways, understood but not truly accepted as a necessity. There as the waves rolled in and out, the misty breeze lifting my hair and running its slightly damp fingers through it, I  heard the voice of the Pacific speak to me.  It was there that the truth of my hurt was revealed; in simple plain thoughts settling in my mind and my heart.

You see, I have an eight-year-old inside of my who lost her Daddy and still feels the abandonment, the confusion, the I-must-have-done-something-wrong, the deep sorrow of loss of that. I know intellectually that it was not my fault; my parents got divorced. And my mother, in her own pain and bitterness, sent all the presents and cards and communication efforts of my Dad back before I ever saw it. My brother Mike and I never knew growing up that Dad did not abandon us.

And yes, my adult self knows now that he tried and tried to let us know that he still and always loved us. It is that little eight-year-old that shows herself to me in times like this.  So, yesterday I took her to the beach. I let her walk and walk and walk. I let her cry. I let her rage at God. Then I held her to myself and soothed her and bid her listen as God answered us both.

I still have the fear that Terry will get lost in his old life in Michigan and never quite make it back here to me. It will linger on the edges of my mind and heart until the day he walks back in my front door to stay. My little girl and I have hope and belief that God, who loves us both, will bring Terry back. He brought us together. I cannot believe that was just so he could take this love away from us. God celebrates love, he is love.

So, hurry back my love. The best is yet to be.

 

 

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Independence

Nice word, that, “in-dependence”. I so love to take a word apart and see what motivates it, makes it the word it is, get the meaning behind the simple coming together of the letters. Not the dictionary meaning, I like to think its the meaning the word itself wants to convey. 

In this one, in-de-pen-dence, the first is to put it into syllables.  “In” means not. Not something. What’s next; “de”, hmmm not enough there.  “Pen” not there either; nor with “dence”. Try again. “depend”, more there that’s for sure, (“ence” being a verb ending is not part of the root). “In” means not, “depend” means to be  “relying on another”. Hmmmm, so the word means to not rely on another. Sounds like a really good thing to be.

In the vein of this idea, in the attitude of 1776 that we are celebrating tomorrow:  I too Declare My In-Dependence! From trying to please those other people in this world who are not ever going to be pleased. From those who seem to believe it is my lot in life to make theirs a bed of roses. From the idea that my own well being should be way down on my list of importance and theirs takes precedence. I must “put on my own oxygen mask” in life.  They will just have to put their own on.

I call this taking care of my inner self. In Julie Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” she calls it “taking your artist child out for a date”.  Some of her suggestions I have done; bought silly inexpensive items and scattered them around my house, things like sparkling silver stars on a roll of garland, stencils of roses I put on my walls that climbed up and over the slider, walks on the beach with the man I love (priceless!) while we think up stories of what sort of people live in the houses overlooking the beach. 

I have the next five days off from work, in that five days I will go on at least one, maybe one a day, Artist’s Date. I may take my little Artist Child down to Laguna Beach and wander through the galleries on their open house night. Or even just sit on the bench at the Montage and absorb the sea’s voice. This time I shall spend in just being me.

I wish you all the same. Declare your own Independence. 

Happy Hot Dog!!!!!

 

 

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