Between Yesterday and Tomorrow

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Photo by Michael Morse on Pexels.com

In the wonderful book– ironically titled The Joy of Missing Out–Christina Crook describes the pleasure of a young child who hasn’t yet lost the knack of living in the moment:      the seven-year-old, who with all the “carelessness of childhood” has mastered “the embrace of beauty, time and place.”

Don’t you want to go there?   I do.

On a long drive to Tennessee, I thought about the New Year–and of course, resolutions began to pop in my head.  But I kept going back to this–how learning to live in the present would be quite the accomplishment in this world of constant digital distractions  –not to mention the normal obligations of life.

And then little irritating experiences (which seem to happen a lot!) made me want to grumble–and gave me cause to ponder, too.

So rather than my typical “do-good’ resolutions: Organize, declutter, and do “X” more often.., I came up with two very basic (sort of) resolutions.  If you like them feel free to borrow.  Research says we only keep the other kind 6 weeks anyway!

So here they are:

  1. Remember that the moments between focusing on your “to do list” for the week–and what happened yesterday–is your Life. You better get in there and enjoy it.             
  2. Give others grace, instead of griping.   (In case you aren’t familiar with the word         Gripe, it’s used a lot in the South.  According to Google, it means: “to grumble about  something, especially something trivial.”   And if we have out basic needs                     covered…then technically most everything else is trivial, right?

There’s nothing like growing older to make you long to be more like that child so beautifully described by Christina. And, now I understand better why Jesus said we must become “like little children” in order to get into the kingdom of Heaven (Mt.18.3).  Childlike joy and trust.  So…

Yes! In 2019 I’m looking forward to trying out these resolutions.

Sometimes less really is more.  🙂

Treasuring Advent

 

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Yesterday was the second Sunday of Advent, and I found myself at home (due to an overnight snow that cancelled pretty much everything for us Carolinians! Although I was enjoying my warm cozy home, I realized I would miss that time of worship and gathering together to focus on the Advent themes of Hope,  Love, Joy, and Peace.

When I was a child the church I attended celebrated Christmas, of course, but we did not particularly mention Advent and these themes in a structured way. So, I am just now beginning to appreciate the visual symbols, like the Advent wreath– and how it helps us focus on these wonderful things. So I looked around my home and found some things to take pictures of to help me treasure the realities of Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace– that the Christ Child brought to us by becoming Immanuel –  “God with us,” – that great Christmas miracle. And then how He grew up and willingly became the Lamb, too, making sacrifice for all our sin on the cross to reconcile us to God.

Christmas is a wonderful time for reflection; and I am praying this year to enjoy that, and allow wonderful traditions like Advent to help me…

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21)

The Place Where the Light Enters

Encouraging words, from one Mom who found Christmas hard to bear

Meditations in Motion

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.Rumi

Meditations in Motion

I have to admit that I never have been a “Christmas person“. Oh, maybe when I was a girl I loved Christmas, but as a young mom, there was always so much stress.

There were family obligations to juggle, the house to decorate, meals to plan and execute and, of course, gifts to buy. My husband and I married and had children while we were still quite young. We lived on a very tight budget. It was not easy to find the money to buy presents for three little boys, our parents and each other, even though I put aside a little bit every week into a Christmas fund. Somehow we managed, but every year, it was difficult to pull all the pieces together.

As my kids got older and left the house and money…

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The Magic of Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is upon us in all its Wonder. I believe there is no greater satisfaction on earth than being truly thankful for something and having the chance to express those feelings precisely. By precisely I mean to the right person, or persons, or Person –who is rightly responsible for the good thing you have experienced–or the gift you received.

For Gratitude itself is a gift we all may give, but when we have offered it freely to others we somehow  find it to be like a quiet magic that gives back–soothing and satisfying the soul, and filling spaces we did not know were empty.

 

Blonde Blunders…just a laugh to live by.

 

WELL…It’s the evening of “The Day After Elections.”  And so, I think some humor is in order.  How about you?   And no political puns–or put-downs,  Right-Left jokes, and no…not even Lawyer jokes (too close to political).  So how about we nominate “Day after Elections” as National Blonde Blunders Day?  You know–confess to all the distractible dumb things we did this year?

Of course, I can’t confess to all of mine…I’d have to write a book. Ask anyone who knows me.

Like one of my best friends–who is actually a “closet blonde”–masquerading as a brown-eyed Brunette.  She shares a secret support  group with me; it’s for women with Menopausal Distractible Disorder (MDD).  Go ahead–look it up.  I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere but in our heads.

However, MDD is quite distinct from ADD.   Because I don’t think ADD kids drop their smart phones in the toilet (which my friend did the other day); nor do they wear their brown leather shoes with light gray slacks–(which I did the other day)–being so…well, DISTRACTED when dressing,  that I did not discover my shoes were brown until I was literally stepping into the office.   OH, WELL.  I’ll just speed-walk.

And also this week I dropped the corn.  I mean a huge dish of it–on my way into a funeral dinner, and sloshed the juice all down my leg onto my nice, funeral clothes dress pants. And, I was helping with the dinner, so no chance to ditch and run.

Well, good news– I CAUGHT THE CORN (thank God).  And no one seemed to smell me.  (As the whole place smelled like delicious dinner–Or…was everyone just too nice to say “Gee, Kam, you sure smell like a bunch of…CORN today…and what’s that giant, wet smear down your left leg?”

So look at that–I just proved there are still nice people in the world. No one made fun of my clashing brown shoes– or my messed up corn-smelling funeral clothes.

What a week! Perfect for Post-election Day recovery–and to remind us we are all people who put on our pants–and shoes–matching or not, and face each day one day at a time.  If we can remember what day it is, that is.  🙂

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” Proverbs 17:22 KJV

 

Waiting Out Florence: Painful but Grateful

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As Florence battered our coast and I sat–listening to the wind howl and the rain pound—I tenaciously typed, thinking about “Blasts from the Past”–like Fran and Charley and Hugo, that had come our way.  I sipped my coffee and wondered when the power hit would come.

Almost miraculously, my home escaped long term outages and severe damage this go around—but thousands around me did not.  And many of those folks will be in long term recovery, especially our friends and relatives closer to the coast “down East”, as we say in North Carolina.

Today, almost a week after Florence hit, waterways all the way inland to Raleigh are still cresting—though this morning the sun shone again, bringing that wonderful sense of hope.  We will all remember Florence for one thing: she brought new meaning to the old phrase…“It ain’t over till it’s over.”  Who knew a hurricane could move so slowly–good grief?!!

But EVERYTHING isn’t bad—things like feeling humbled–and talking to neighbors about how to help each other—that’s the good that lasts.  And seeing all those first responders, poised and ready—spring into action to bring the help folks need at crucial moments—that has been downright inspiring.

Of course, with every hurricane we lose some battles.  And any loss of life and homes is tragic—there’s no way to sugar coat that.  Yet, somehow the strength of spirit we feel as we pull together is good. And we know it would be much worse without everyone chipping in to help—before, during, and after.

In the end, when the work to rescue and rebuild has subsided, those stories of heroism and sacrifice will slowly surface, being sown in the throes of common hardship.  And, yes, there will be tears—but there will also be unexpected joys.

So, let us pray we face painful days with hope–whether it be a hurricane day, or a cancer day, or some other pain that comes unbidden–but still remain grateful for each other and the beauty of a blue sky on a Carolina morning.

 

“A Room Called Remember”

 

Sometimes there is a simple path to a profound truth.

     In my last post,  Sorrow and Solitude  , I shared my need to take time away because of the sadness that had come to people I love. And hence to me.  I needed time to feel the sorrow–to reflect on things–and let God speak to me.

During this time I read a book by the wonderful writer, Frederich Buechner, called The Remarkable Ordinary.  In it he tells of the healing that comes when we pause the rush of life long enough to remember–and reflect–on our lives.  So that we begin to see our “story,” and perhaps find that our “ordinary lives’ may actually be weaving an extraordinary tale.

Then, says Buechner, one can begin to see a “stream” of Grace, that flows through our life–almost hidden, but really there–just as real as the rest of our life.  It will be that we can hear it, feel it, and see it–if only we take time to listen (which is the hard part).  But if we do–reflect, remember and listen–the story can lead us to places where we catch a glimpse of God–reaching out, as it were, to intercept us.  A little push in some direction, or a “clue’ that He is there–watching–and working out a redemptive story for all the sorrow that crushes in on us–and everyone else–in this broken world.

For your story is also my story, Buechner reminds us, quoting Maya Angelou.  Though the details, of course,will differ.  They are the same because, somehow, we all must work our way through life’s heavy loads–but we need not do it alone, nor without moments of joy that help heal the sorrow.

And that is where “The Room called Remember” comes in.

Beuchner tells how this came to him in a dream–where he found himself searching and longing for a certain room in a large hotel.  He knew only one thing about this room, only that he always felt perfectly at peace there.  But after leaving it,  he could not find his way back.  So, in the dream he inquires at the desk for the room number, but the clerk tells him the room does not have a number– only a name.  But that he can go back there anytime he wants–he only needs to: “Remember.”   And so, it is “The Room Called Remember.”

This so touched me I began to cry.  Because, even though I did not have traumatic childhood memories to work through (as Buechner did),  there is so much in life I NEED to remember–to go back and truly feel and experience. Because life has been so busy–well, since forever–as it has for almost everyone.  And yes, even for those of us with “ordinary childhoods” there are hurts left in closets.

It’s as if we live life without feeling it most of the time. Always moving on because of the pure busyness of it all. As if joy and revelry and delight in the sunshine of the day is only for children.  But remembering and feeling, smiling and laughing have their place–and it’s a healing one.

Truly, we must remember–and feel again–or die inside.

So because of the sorrow I took this time.  And then–“out of the blue” I had this dream (I am one of those rare folk who sleep like a rock and seldom dream at all, much less have “meaningful” dreams, so this is a first…).  But, in this dream my deceased father appears. Out of nowhere he is there; we are just standing, facing each other at the end of a road.  In the dream I know he is not supposed to be there, so I just stare at him and think…

“Dad, you’re dead–you can’t be here!!”

He looks over at me and smiles.  Then, very characteristically, with his slow deliberate walk, comes over and puts his arm around my shoulders and gives me a good hard squeeze.   He looks me in the eyes and says, “I just came to give you a hug.”  He smiles his mischievous smile again and then he is gone, just like that.

The dream woke me up with a start.

“Wow. Dad came to give me a hug!” That was all I thought, but it was like shot of pure adrenaline.

No plot, no nothing else.  So maybe it was more like a vision than a dream? I wouldn’t know.   But regardless, I knew that it MEANT something.  I knew that as clear as day–which was very odd.

Buechner writes about how a dream can be at the same time, a “word from you and a word to you,” and I think that was true about this dream. It was a revelation of sorts–a message I needed to hear.

Later on that day as I thought about that dream, I asked God to help me know what the dream was to show me.   It was a simple reminder of the Father love of God–something to REMEMBER: We don’t just serve God, we are to enjoy His love.  That was it–the delight of a Father who just wanted to hug his daughter–pure love–nothing to prove.

God delights in me simply because I am His… What a thought to think on.

So take time to reflect on the ordinary things in your life–and you might catch a glimpse of that quiet, grace of God on a simple path called Remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorrow and Solitude

 

 

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Life has gone sad lately.

And I’ve been craving the quiet—still paths to ponder and think.

It began to happen all at once.

My daughter was pregnant, and then she wasn’t–she lost her baby–our first grandchild.

😦

Then two of my best friends had sudden, close deaths in their families.

So much sadness at once!

I find myself  longing for music–long, low songs filled with emotion.  Most any kind, as long as it calls to the heart.

I want to feel the pain, the sorrow, the missing someone I never really knew, yet loved. I want to feel the hurt for friends, and my daughter, who are on journeys of grief, deeper than my own.

I have decided grieving is a journey with no destination–for sorrow has a home all its own.  And for everyone it is unique, and there is no way to know when you are there, or if it’s good to arrive–or not.

It is like traveling in tunnel, with only windows that others peek in.  They try to come in, but they can’t–for your sorrow is yours, not theirs.

How can another know the love you lost?

Yet, in the dark, still of the quiet night—I found there is One Who walks beside me.

And so I rest in His arms, this God in flesh, the “Man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…” He knows. (Is. 53:3)

Alas,  we women often cope with pain by staying busy; I can’t do it this time. So, I will be taking a break from regular blogging, to find solace in the silence, solitude with God, and time with family and friends.  Though I will be perusing others’ posts to find inspiration and the joy of community…hopefully the desire to write will return in time!

My many thanks to the WordPress Community 🙂