Square Peg’s Dance

I have always wondered how someone other than me can be so very sure of what the “me” of me truly is.  All those, on the outside, who spent such time and energy to straighten me into their ideas, their mold; to fit my square corners into their neat round mold.  Did anyone of them ever bother to get to know the authentic me?

Maybe the whole thing is a two way street. Not one side of this dilema is the truly wrong side. I think it is just a human misconception.  We, in our perfect fit little mold, sort of like jello in its pretty holiday tree mold, think we are so fine, such a perfect fit, so very comfortable with all our little selves pressing upon the sides of our personal molds just so very finely, thank you very much, can tell someone else how their own mold should fit.  We are all not in the tree mold, some of us are stars, some are perfect little squares.

In my years of living on this planet I seem to attrack those who see me as an “Improvement Project”.  One that they are sure they have all the necessary tools to finish me into the perfect fit in the mold they chose. But my corners never did fit. Sometimes the clash was just a bump, most times it was a bit of a hammer blow.

The words used to bend me were so very, very destructive. Words like; What you should do, you don’t know what you are doing, let me fix that for you, don’t you ever learn (this said with a frustrated sigh), how could you do that, stupid, and the classic last century phrase of you are acting like a girl.  Those comments of put down are meant not to help me improve, but to show their superiority.

No wonder I sometimes miss the person inside me who hides from those chipping away at who she is.  She has been tugged, stuffed, stretched, pushed, even smashed at time into some other’s mold in this life. The little one inside me is trying to figure out this life, just like everyone else.

At this stage of my life I am learning about me, who I am, what I really do like and do not like. What makes my heart sing, what makes it weep, what is most important to be around, what I just cannot be around.

I am still a bit of a square peg, but I have found a nice square corner that I am very content and comfortable to be in.  In his Sabbath Moment this first week of Advent; Terry Hershey tells us that true sanctuary is where we are at home with our own company. At first my thought was, “what if your own company is vague to you? That it has been so tugged out of shape by others that you are not sure you recognize it?

As I wrote that, the true self of my own company looked up from her comfy window seat in the corner and said “I have always been here, waiting for you to come and sit with me”. Then she opened up and let me in on the best and most wonderful secret; I am whole, I am complete, I am a perfect fit into the mold I was made to fill up.

I spend myself freely for those I love. I cry when something touches my heart. I will defend those I love with every fiber of my being. I so enjoy designing and decorating my home, it is an exercise in creating beauty. I have been blessed with a deep, abiding faith in God. I feel fulfilled when I do things for his kingdom. I have been given the gift of writing. I am a keen learner and love the whole process of learning. I don’t much like algebra, but am quite good at math. If I was rich , it wouldn’t be mine too long, for I would then be able to get all those little special things I see for all those I love so much. I give my heart freely, only taking it back when the love in it is rejected.  I so love reading that I will injure my neck strain my eyes to finish that last chapter in that great book. And yes, I am a bit old-fashioned for I so love its sublties and its elegance.  My Ohana are the heart of my being, my love, my prayers cover them where ever in this great big world they are.

I am still a square peg, I am sure their will be some people who will try to knock off those oh so pointy edges of mine. So the dance will continue as we swirl around this life’s dancefloor together.  I do know that I am here on this earth, because God put me here, right now, at this time in time to be the me he made me to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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And so it begins…

As I sit here in my little house, living my little life, looking out on my little porch, with my two little dogs who are such great buds; the thought of what today means to so many made me think of what this Sunday means to me.

One thing I can say for sure is that it does not mean the beginning of a shopping marathon. I did not hear a starting pistol on Thanksgiving evening, I did not get caught up in the hype for the “bargain of the season” and race out to be 200th in line for said bargain.  There was nothing I could see, or hear of, that would entice me out for the whole of the night.  I do admit to being in that crowd of bargain hunters once.  And that was all it took.  Witnessing people at the frenzy of shopping hypnosis was only a one time thing for me.  Watching my fellow human beings literally battle one another, tooth and nail, for a cell phone was not something I will choose to be witness to again.  The long lines at checkout were the forerunner of Purgatory; where we will all stand in line, holding our hard won specials, while the clerk at the register slowly pulls the items across the scanner in the sluggish boredom of a teenager at Aunties house.

After that escapade I decided that there was not one item on my wish list that would ever entice me out in the dark of night to engage in the Consumer Games ever again.  I have even gone so far as to do my utmost to not even go near any business on those days between Thanksgiving evening and Sunday night.  So far this year I have held to my principles.  I have not set foot in any retail, big box, or mall store.

So, what does this time mean to me? It a time of preparation. A time of getting ready for the biggest event in the whole history of mankind.  It is a time of cleaning up, a time of self reflection, a time to jettison anything that does not keep me moving forward.

Father, in his Homily last night at Mass, talked about his parents reminding him that he had to be very, very good for the Christ child to bring him anything.  Father, who is from Mexico, talked about how his parents would remind him of what truly happened on Christmas Eve.  He also said he could not sleep on Christmas Eve, in anticipation of seeing what the Child would bring him in celebration of his birth.  For to receive from the Christ on that night, his behavior had to be the best he could do.

Advent is like Lent, we are waiting for a monumental event. God is doing something so huge, so wonderful, so incredibly fantastic, that we need to be ready for it.  We need to be the best we can be.  The days that lead up to the birth of the Savior give us time to be prepared.  Our altars are covered in purple, the priest wears purple vestments, we light purple candles.  But only three purple ones, the fourth, just before the big event, is pink. Joyful pink. Happy pink.

This season is so much more than parties, and shopping, and who gets what, and getting caught in the frenzy of shopping and doing.  It is a time to set aside a few minutes to truly ponder what that long ago tiny baby’s coming meant to this world we live in.  This is a time to take an extra fifteen minutes in the morning to just sit quiet and think about that night two millenia ago.

And, this is a time, just like Lent, to discard one thing, a habit maybe, just one, that you know is not the best habit you can have. Just for four weeks, stop doing that one thing and fill that space with a good thing for you.  And  like  the time in Lent, you might find that the habit becomes and non-habit. And the new thing brings you not only good, but that wonderful Joy that this season is all about.  Reconnect with the true meaning of this season and find the Joy once again.

We all know somethings  we do, some habits we have acquired,  just sort of happened.  We have seen the young people with their heads stuck in their smart phones or tablets thinking they are being “social”.  This is a season to limit that time on those devices that are supposed to be helpers not the Lords of Time that suck it all up! But we have to face the fact that it isn’t just the young, it is all of us. Fascination with the newest gadget is not a new phenomenon, it has been going on since human beings have been on earth.   So, this Advent might be a great time to set limits on that gadget that steals your time and your ability to interact with fellow humans.

What ever it is, what ever you find that you would like to get rid of or improve or just clean out,that is your gift to the Christ child. One that he will take and make an incredible gift for you on that special night in four weeks. One that is worth being up all night in anticipation of receiving.

May this Advent bring the best of gifts to you on Christmas—Christ the Lord!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At the Bottom of My Heart

I am a transplant, from it seems more than one place here in these United States.  I have a little of Ohio, a touch of South Carolina and quite a bit of Florida in me. Ohio didn’t take to well to me, or in all honesty me to it; but South Carolina spoke to my Southern heart.  For all that great flavoring from those other states with all they have to offer there is one that left it’s stamp on that Southern leaning heart of mine.

I am a California girl. I do not speak Valley, though I can understand it mostly. I don’t surf, but do love watching others surf. I don’t swim in the Pacific Ocean, not my environment, though I will sail or steam or motor on the surface.  I can speak fairly good King’s English, with out the embelishments of too many “far outs” or “dudes! peppering my conversation.  But I am definately a California girl.

One of the blessing of living in Florida as I do now is the accepting sort of glow the population has here.  When I was a little girl living here, it was the same way. Accepting that the Snow Birds come by November and leave by no later than the Easter.  Accepting that people from all over the world, especialy the Carribean sort of end up here. I love that about Florida, I settled in pretty fast and am very happy.

But, that California in me pops out at the oddest times.  Like asking the butcher at Publix if he has tri-tip; his response being a totaly blank look followed by “is that beef?”.  Or my wonderful perfect beach pink hat I wear on my walks with my dogs. The old men here in my park just smile and stare; the women look at me like I am such an oddity.  It even comes out in my home decor.  Lots of wonderful reds, soft blues, perfectly blended with light orange and Tobin Winery accessories. (No one here has any idea what or who Tobin is; only the best winery in Central Coast!)  Or the need to be outside when the sun is shining. Or the fountain that is always on sending its muted song of falling water all through my little abode.

I come by California girl honestly, I lived there for 54 years. From the last of the 50’s into the new millenium.  I saw it change from a place where wild, untamed beauty was only no more than a fifteen minute drive away to the patches of that wild beauty being tamed and stamped with exclusive and exorbitant prices so only the super rich, or as my Mom called them “filthy rich”, could afford to even entertain the idea of that incredible wildness.  I saw the freeways take over the orange groves and create an never ending flow of cookie-cutter houses.  I saw the drive go from one quaint small town with expanses of glorious rolling hill covered with wildflowers, to ribbons of concrete joining up more ribbons of concrete. I lived through the California that my mother grew up with turn into a developers villa on the Cote d’Azure.  I saw those beautiful quaint towns die a slow and agonizing death into the malls, the freeways, the industrial complexes that covered up the wildflowers.

That California still lives inside of me, and a whole lot of others from the last century just like me who have it tucked inside of them.  Some of us have been literaly priced out of that beautiful state, others are sticking it out for the love of the place. It gives those of us who are in exile warm and wonderful friends and relations to see when we go back. A people who understand our need to come back every once in a while to touch California dirt.  A place to launch our memories from as we overlay the concrete with the wildflowers in our hearts.

There are still beaches to walk, still wild places to see, still beauty to drink in. They are just harder to find, farther afield and down that off ramp on the right from that concrete ribbon.  And, sometimes, someone has put a ticket booth at the end of the ramp.

California will be inside of me for what ever is left of my life here on this earth.  My California isnt made of concrete and steel. My California is made of purple lupine, tall mustard, bright orange poppies and blue ragging ocean.  And those other Californians who love me, the memories we share and the sorrow over the
“paving of paradise”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MAKING DO

I asked God the other morning what I thought was a profound and very to the point question. I asked him “why?” Not for one specific sort of subject, but why for all of it;  the twists and turns, the ups and downs, the heart wrenching eveythings in this life. His answer was a thought he sent reverberating through my subconcious. ‘I have been making do with whatever was in front of me’. So, I sat down and began flipping through my life, just the highlights mind you, to see just what he was getting at.

We were never ever the family that had any extra anything, certainly not money. We were middle class, but more like clinging to the bottom rung of that designation, definately not in comfortable middle or the upper reaches that were streaching to the bottom rung of well to do.

My parents were divorced in the mid 1950’s, a time of upward prosperity, of a certain amont of mobility and of the vision of working toward a better life than that of parents. But, not for women who were the “divorcee’. The glass ceiling was more like a brick and mortor one.  There was no job that paid well enough for her to support three growing children, my Dad could not send the $5 a week set out in the divorce papers for he was having trouble finding accounting work that paid enough.

I think that was when I found my  Making Do.

I was a child of 9, not really too very much aware of the real world. I did know that my Daddy was not in the house anymore, that my Mom was working and I was at my friend Mary Whitacker”s house after school. The Christmas of 1958 was what Dolly Parton sang about, a “Hard Rock Candy Christmas”. Not a lot presents, I think maybe one or two apiece for each of us; Christmas Eve service, with the traditional German treat of a Golden Glitter globe filled with chocolates; my Dad showing up after we were all in bed with a profusion of things for me. I remember a white leather coat, a dress with a black velvet bodice and a white viole skirt. I think there might have been something for Mike, but not Edwin, in the lot.

If I hadn’t of woken up to his voice, I think my Mom would have thrown the lot of the things away and we would have never known he was even there.  But I did wake up, and came out to see my Daddy. I felt so special and so pretty when he had me put them on to show him.  He and I were smiling and laughing and hugging and my Mom sat in the chair with a face like hurrcaine thunder.

She took them all away from me, of course. She told me the colors were too old for a little girl and boxed them up and they disappeared.  I knew better than to make any sort of scene to try and keep them. Making Do whipsered to take what I had and kept quiet.

Then, we moved from Orlando, the only place I had ever really known, to California, not quite a year later. To my Gramma Hallie’s  old, old crumbling Victorian house in a little hill town north of San Diego. It was the stuff of kid nightmares. Dark,  creaky, drafty,  wallpaper blowing in the East Wind, big hole underneath—off limits of course—and a Gramma who was even grummpier than my Mom.  The bright spot in this was my Cousin Jan and Her Mom Joyce.

It was there, in that house of darkness,  I learned to keep quiet, to stay out of angry adults way, to play by myself, to generally lay as low as possible for my Mom could put Vesuvius to shame when she errupted. It was when I was entertaining myself outside in my Gramma’s overgrown arbor that the old man next door spied me. He lured me with what I was not getting at home; love, acceptance, encouragement, value.  His wife even gave me jewelry, an amethyst necklace, a Fire Opal ring from Russia and pearls. His moletation didn’t last too long; to this day I think my Gramma figured it out from the jewelry, and, being Hallie Jean she did not mince words to him and his wife and told him, I am sure, to keep his hands to himself.  My Mom picked me up from school to tell me he had shot himsefl in the shed on the back of their property, the same shed where he was touching me.

Making Do said, stay quiet, it is over now. So I did.

When Mom remarried, she married a man that would molest me also. I don’t believe she knew. I do know I was afraid she would blame me, tell me I asked for it, or that some behavior of mine had done it. So, I and Making Do did the best we could to stay away from him, to not be home alone with him, to fight like a jungle cat when woke me up from a sound teenager sleep pawing at me after my Mom went to work.

Making Do counseled to be quiet and work at getting out away from him, so I went to work after High school.  Where Making Do came to work with me in a factory.

When I met my husband a few years later, Making Do and I thought that this might be a good, trustworthy man. Someone who cares about me, someone I could trust. For the first few weeks it was just like we thought. Until Thanksgiving when his Mom got drunk and passed out on her kitchen floor. When we got home to our little North Hollywood apartment, the nightmare began. After seven years, two beautiul boys and abuse piled on abuse, Making Do and I packed up the little Volkswagen Bug and left.

Making Do and I have been together now for sixty-seven years. We have made do without a lot of stuff, some of which people have actually commented on. One friend actually asked me “where is all your stuff?”  It seems he was used to women having and incrediable amount of material goods.

 Making Do and I have learned to not just make do, but to be creative with the making do.  It was Making Do, my Mom and I who put up garden bender board on the wall of my first condo. As my cousin Kevin sat scoffing and informing us it just couldn’t be done. It was Making Do and I who wallpapered a country kitchen, while the same cousin scoffed again saying I couldn’t do such a big job myself, but never once voluteering to help. It was Making Do and I who had the wall in my second condo painted a gorgeous Chianti Red that reflected the sunlight into the living room, flooding it with soft Chianti.  It was Making Do and I, with my real true friends, who packed up that condo and set out across the United States with two small dogs and the Very Best Cousin any one could ever have.  It was Making Do and I who made it through that lonely, cold winter in Ohio with those two small dogs and that Very Best Cousin on the other end of the phone.  It was Making Do and I who piled into the van called Jaws with those two dogs and moved south to warmth and sunshine and welcoming people.  It is Making Do and I who are slowly making this little moblie house into the home we want it to  be.

Making Do has been my buddy, my counselor, my creative consultant, my encourager, my inspiration, my muse through every part of my life. I am convinced that Making Do is really my guardian Angel (whose name will remain between the two of us).  

When Making Do and I run into people who give us the usual platitudes of “you don’t want to do that” or “that will never work” or “haven’t you finished that yet”; we just smile at each other and keep on making do.

For all we are given is the ablitiy to make do. The vision to make it do the best for us, right now, in this place.  It is in making do with what gifts life blesses us with that the we live each day.

From Making Do and I, with love and a great big dose of inspiriation…..

Keep Making Do!!!!

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Deeper than Temperature

It seems after a bit of extended vacation, Winter has arrived. The rains, the snowstorms, the icy roads, the whole gamut of winter has come back to the Northern Hemisphere once again. I can so see how the ancients made Winter into an entity, something to know as you would a person, for it does seem to have some of the qualities of a vindictive woman.   She is here again, seeming to have descended with more vengeance on some parts of the hemisphere than on others, but it has descended nonetheless.

Here, in Central Florida where me and DaBoys are, Winter sort of wandered around, not sure if she was going to go this far south of the Mason/Dixon or not. It was a bit of a shock when she swooped down on us. One day it was 83 degrees and nicely sunny, the next it was 50 and cloudy.

Today is brutal to us Floridians. It is 39 degrees, cloudy, windy and bitter cold. No snow here, well, not so far; but 39 is cold no matter where you are. Well, except for maybe Nome, Alaska.

This bought of cold has my alter-ego, The Grumpy Girl, coming out.  DaBoys are such troopers to put up with my hurrying them through the walks so I can get back into the warmth again. This morning when we went out it was only 36, with a wind-chill making it more like 31. Grumpy indeed!

As I apologized to my sweet buddies with a cookie apiece, I thought about what it is about cold temperatures that makes me so very, very intolerant and grumpy.  I saw that when I bundled up this morning to take them out, I had all the things on myself I needed to keep myself warm: woolly hat and gloves, puffy coat, woolly scarf, layers of warm clothes and nice fake-fur boots with super warm socks.

So, why was I so cold? I did an inventory of my body to see what part was experiencing the cold so badly that it affected the rest of the body. My head was warm, well—cheeks were pretty cold but not frozen, my hands were warm inside the gloves inside the jacket pockets, my feet were nice and warm in the boots and socks, and my legs were not too awfully cold in the sweats I had on. As DaBoys and I hurried around the little path, I thought on this. It is not blizzard weather like it is in New York Pennsylvania, so what is the real problem here?

Cold is not just temperature. Cold is being ignored. Cold is being so insignificant that not one other human being sees you. Cold is being outside of another’s affections. Cold is being a Less-Than. Cold is not being in the warmth of love.

As I thought of these truths, another one came into focus for me. We all have a small child inside of us that is forever seeking that which the child craves, what it sees as a need, an empty space. For some of us it manifests itself in drive for money, or fame, or conquests, or doing the ultimate good, or finding a cure for a disease, or even saving all the dogs one human being can possibly save. (I have that, just not the means to do it, so I save and help the ones God gives to me to save and help).

I now understand my total and complete aversion to cold.  It has very little to do with the real temperature, it has to do with my little girl. You see, she lost the warmth of open love when she was just a bit over ten years old. Not only was it from a warmer climate, it was from a person who openly expressed love for her.

It was so much more of just an outward environment change, it was one of the heart also. From open love to harshness. From smiles and genuine joy to clamped down feelings, hidden from the world under a wall of granite. From known ways of doing things and of acting to, unknown ways of place and people. Added to this was the  complete unpredictability of adults who should have been at least aware of her loss, her child’s pain, her not having the resources to cope with such a radical change in the very fabric of her life.

Those adults closest to her were battling their own demons, to be sure. Some were so familiar as to become part of their internal makeup. That little one was left vulnerable to predatory people who took advantage of the adults inattention. In there defense, they undoubtedly just didn’t notice the extreme vulnerability of the child.

So my extreme aversion to cold has pretty much nothing to do with the actual number on the thermometer. I has to do with that poor, lost and lonely little girl who was transplanted from warm, Sunny Florida to not-quite-so-warm-and Sunny California mountains without any even remote idea of what it would be like. Living in her Gramma Hallie’s house, with its wallpaper blowing in the East Wind. Listening to the arguments and feeling the deep anger between her Mom and Gramma. Never knowing when the frustrated anger would turn on her.

It does amaze me that after all these years, after all the therapy sessions, the helps from books and others who have been through similar things; I am still susceptible to the triggers of cold. I guess this will just be a part of my life’s tapestry.  Which is part of the myriad reasons I live where I do. I came here for the physical warmth yes, but because too of the family that is here, the open friendliness of my neighbors and the ever present and welcome sun. Even though it is a very cold (for Florida) 45 degrees right now at 1:30 in the afternoon, the sun is doing its best to shine down on us Lizards and keep us warm.

(As I said to my friend today, who hails from Pennsylvania and has a tendency to stroll around in shorts and flip-flops in January; if you had lived in the Sun Belt for 56 years, you would be cold too!!!!)

I know that the warmth I am seeking comes from love. My first source of that love is God himself, then those around me in this world.  In order to truly warm up where I need to be is at his feet. Basking at the source of all love. So, I will take a really hot shower, put on my woollies once again, and take my little girl inside off to church where she has always found what she seeks.

 

 

 

 

 

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Loss of Awesome

I can still see my Gramma Hallie’s face as she watched history flow out from the TV screen on that day in July, 1969.  This woman who watched the world she knew take oh so many giant leaps into the unknown and land on its feet.  She, who was born in a tiny little Iowa town before the turn of the last century, the 19th into the 20th, not 20th into this one; a century that literally and figuratively changed the world forever.

She grew up with an outside toilet, not at all different than everyone else in that little Iowa town.  The washing was done by hand, with a wringer to wrestle the water out yes. but the turning of it was by hand.  Some in town had electricity, but not all, especially those outside of town on the family farms.  The county seat at Winterset, the place made famous years later by being not only the birthplace of John Wayne, but also the book and movie about its iconic covered bridges, was where the trains came through. Macksburg was a sleepy little farm town with just a few houses around the post office where two county roads met. Her Dad was the Baptist preacher and her and her sister were both born in the Baptist parsonage that is still there.

Hallie Jean would be one of thousands of witnesses the world over to watch the world change from agricultural with some industry to the mega-business world we live in today.  She used to tell me the story of everyone in town rushing outside to see the biplanes fly over. Watching in wonder and awe, making comments about those flying machines; how do they stay up there, how terrifying it would be to be in one, how fast they went and what a wonder they were. She witnessed her world going from horses and buggies to cars and airplanes and rockets to the moon.

The look in her eyes that summer evening in 1969 was one of awe. That true, Biblical sort of awe. The kind that stops you in your tracks so you can drink in and make the moment part of your personal memories. The kind of awe our young people no longer have the experience of.

Even us Baby Boomers were privileged to experience some of that awe on that day in 1969.  We were the last to grow  up with the Man in the Moon. He seems to have vacated the premises after the Moon Landing. Can’t say I blame him, must have been highly annoying to have the Lunar Lander plop down on his face, then those feet tromping all over.

It isn’t so much that the awe inspiring moments are not there, I believe it is because the barrage of technology has distracted them and us from seeing the awe moments right in front of them. If it doesn’t have an app they miss it completely. Technology is great, don’t think I don’t appreciate all the wonders it has given us. What I am trying to say is that technology is not all there is.

The truly awe moments are as the poet says, the ones that take your breathe away. They rise you up, out of every day, into a glimpse of a new and exciting universe. Awe takes us out of the mundane into the realm of Angels. Awe raises our souls out of the sameness into a glimpse of Heaven itself.

Awe is walking around Michaelanglo’s David and watching this stone statue age into the King he became, released from the rock by the artists hand. Awe is hearing your newborn baby’s cry. Awe is hearing your grandchild’s cry. Awe is having one of God’s creatures snuggle up next to you because you are you and the small furry one cannot think of any better place in the whole world than right next to you. Awe is when you look down the church aisle and there is that one other person in the whole wide world, that so wants to be with you in this walk, they take you as you are and you them.  Awe is standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon to view what God’s mighty hand can do with mere clay.

Let’s all look for and make sure we point out those Awe-moments to everyone we meet. For it is awe that keeps us connected to be truly human.  Let’s show the next generation and the one after that the incredible wonder of awe.

 

 

 

 

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Gardens of Camellias

My neighbor’s camellia bush is full of almost ready to bloom flowers. Big, beautiful bright pinkish-red flowers. That one bush, that one plant, shows me how to face the world and its oh-so-negative sort of thinking.

You see, our weather here in Central Florida has been unpredictable at best and in the extremes at its worst. One day its 75, sunny and crystal clear, then in the middle of the night the storm hits and rips the warmth from every living thing.  Yesterday it was a 75 degree day, oh so sunny, oh so very much why so many of us are living here in this part of Florida. Today, is a whole ‘nother story.  There were tornadoes. yep tornadoes, over by Tampa last night.  70 to 80 mile an hour winds. Right now The clouds and the sun are playing tag with each other and its a cool 57 degrees, which with the wind feels more like 54. Not quite what one expects in Sunny Florida.

But that camellia bush just goes with the flow. Some blossoms have fallen to the ground yes, but the bush stands up tall with its branches loaded with more blossoms.

As I watch the wind whip the bush’s branches I can’t help but see the same thing happening to me. The storms of my life, with their huge winds, their threatening tornado-like destruction aimed at me, do the same thing to my mind. I want to be like that camellia bush, I want to just hold  on and wait out the storm.The only way to do that is to think like God thinks, not like man (as in all of us) thinks.

In my life there have been what seems like a plethora of others human beings who spent considerable energy to manipulate, convince, cajole and at times force me into thinking their way.  Usually about what I wanted to do, or thought, or even down to how I washed my  own dishes.  In themselves it might have been perfect. In another it was not so much.

Most times the rebellious me just dug my heals in and and said nothing. But after so very many years of it, I have to admit to beginning to think that maybe they were somewhat right—I could be just as inanely stupid as they seemed to think I was. Or at best, just a ‘bit slow on the uptake” as my Mom used to say about me.

The camellia bush outside my living room window tells me a different story. There is always a force out to beat down, to remake, to reshape each one of us. But, like Ms. Camellia next door, our task, our job here on this earth as human beings it to hunker down in the storms, hold on and be exactly what we were created to be.

We are not just like anyone else. St Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 12:4; “There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them.” My gift, my purpose, my call, my uniqueness is not the same as anyone on this earth.  It is truly one of the very few things in this wide world I can claim as inherently just mine.  A treasure of priceless value.

No amount of attempting to change my purpose, my gift into what another wants it to be, into what fits better to another, will not change that.  Nor will the timing of that be altered. If I come to my gift late in life, how would anyone else even begin to surmise that it was late? It could be, like Abraham’s call, it is in perfect time for God to use as he made it to be used. Nether will any attempt at diversion or burying that gift, that purpose change the fact that it will be there, it will be mine and it will be used by God somehow.

My resolution for this years is to listen to God, to understand the gift he gave me, to use it in alignment with his perfect plan for me. I would think like God, not like mankind. I will actively reject the negative, the evil that lurks to ruin the gift God gave me to use.

So, to all  those voices from the past that still try to influence not only what I do but right down to how I see myself: Be Quiet!  I reject your negative. I reject your using of me for your own ends. I reject the idea I am less-than you so you feel bigger. I reject your not loving me and embrace those who do. I reject your pulling me farther and farther away from God so you won’t be alone.  I reject the idea that in order for me to have any value as a human being, it is your view only that matters.

I am a beloved child of God. I have a task to complete for him before I leave this world for my home with him.  If you, with your wounds and pains and scars, only want me to allow myself to be sacrificed on your altar of All Things Negative to feed those wounds and pains and scars so you won’t have to, then I refuse. If you would walk with me, beside me, as we travel toward home, needing my support as I need yours then lets get up and continue on.

As the song from Mercy Me says “The Cross was enough!” We, together, can change the world. We can make it beautiful once again. We can walk in the Garden with God in the cool of the evening once again. We can talk to the camellias and tell them thank you for showing us what our souls had forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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