Monday, January 31, 2011

Lunch and the Light

A bit of my beliefs for which I'll probably be burned at the stake,
But I'm sure it's not the biggest risk that I'll ever take.
I don't think Jesus was made to die by his dad;
I think people demanded his death to prove the commitment that he had.

He walked along the earth preaching joy and elation,
Instead of concentrating on the negativity in creation.
Many did not like this brash, young Jewish man
Messing with their version of earth's domination plan.

What made his words so scary to those who live in fear,
Is he changed the focus of what we should hold most dear.
He said that we are equal in the glory we were created to be.
And that after death we cease to be counted as he or she.

I believe The Light of Creation shimmered until it broke apart,
And that this Holy Light gave all creation its start.
I believe we are destined to, once again, become
Part of the light of Love that we were spun off from.

I believe we destroy this earth and each other with our greed,
Thinking that The Infinite Light and Love won't fill our need.
Like there is only a limited amount of Light and Love to go around,
So we, even in Eternity, want to grab a piece of ground.

Good parents aren't happy as long as one of their children has not;
They seek to distribute evenly every good thing that they've got.
Is our Infinite Creator any less loving than we?
Why would there be more for you and nothing left for me?

Some Christians think that salvation isn't for Muslim or Jew.
Did Our Creator not know what family each life was sent to?
Do we think there's need for more kindling for the fires of hell,
So Our Creator continues creating those who can never in Heaven dwell?

Aren't we all spun off the same Creator's energy,
The final destination, back with Our Creator to be.
If Jesus is my brother and has returned to his roots,
Won't everyone become one again in our glory suits?

All who seek Love and Kindness, it seems to me,
Are parts of salvation as it was meant to be.
Some of us see Our Creator in one manifestation,
While others see The Spirit in many parts of Creation.

So let us stop the argument of which is the true God;
All was created as part of the path to Infinity that we plod.
I'd love to see what you see, and share my vision of God with you
Eye-to-eye we'll sit, rather than sitting in a pew.

I'd like to have a lunch with you that I lovingly prepare;
It's hard to remain angry as we, our blessings, share.
So, come one and come all to my very large dining table;
Let's celebrate our visions of The Light with all that we are able.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Not a Wicked Woman

I wish The Spirit moving in me was calm and quiet;
Whenever I discuss scripture, I seem to spark a riot.
It's not that people think that my beliefs are wrong;
It's just that most like their religion with a gentler song.

I've been told by many not to share my voice,
But it seems as I get older, this is not a choice.
My daughter once said to me that's the job of a granny
To hand out opinions, of which I have so many.

Why is it for some The Spirit whispers when mine roars?
I don't seem to have an inside voice when my spirit soars.
It's very hard on babies and those who are convalescing;
To these folks, my energy doesn't feel like a blessing.

I know that most of us have been been told all our lives
To never speak of politics or the faith on which we thrive;
But the country seems to speak of almost nothing else
I simply want a more peaceful way to express myself.

There are many still thinking that a woman who is good
Will happily sit in silence while the menfolk set the mood.
I have really tried this, but it doesn't work for me;
The more I try to stifle, the more words fight to be free.

I wake up every morning and I ask the Holy Spirit
To heal my heart and my head, and control the words I spit.
It sometimes seems to work as I would like it to do.
But when passions are sparked, my words rise a decibel or two.

I know I'm not a preacher, nor an official teacher,
But I share the same Light as every creature.
And I want to shout this new knowledge in word and song
That the people who think me wicked may have always been wrong.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Parenting Places

Now women say that when you have a babe at the breast,
Sleeping when the babe sleeps is considered best.
But back in the days when I had my first,
This was the time for a housekeeping burst.

It was important to create a castle for your man,
Cooking and cleaning til things were spic and span.
And then to be sure that the babies were quiet
When he came home, or there would be a riot.

Putting on lipstick and combing one's hair;
He had better not find you resting in a chair
If you didn't please him, he was perfectly free
To find somewhere more peaceful to be.

Now, as I sit with my recovering friend,
I remember how different things were back then.
I clean when and what's needed, but no more;
No one ever got sick from an unswept floor.

I don't know that things are necessarily better;
Some have no one home to tend their litter.
It would be nice if there were official block parents;
It could even make for good economic sense.

Any parent who was the parent in charge,
Would be enforcing the neighborhood's laws.
Now that there are many stay home "mister moms"
We would probably pay them fairly for their time.

We could even have grandpas and grandmas paid
To soothe the babies when they are afraid.
Those who haven't lost their energy yet
Could teach skills to the younger set.

This is what old time schools and churches did
Before our communities became so big.
Community schools would be perfect spaces
To create these safe parenting places.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Core Competencies

It's not that I'm jealous, it's just that I didn't know
That wife and mother was a path down which I should not go.
I was taught that this was all that women could achieve;
It was in the kindness of our masters that we should believe.
The best gift a girl could have was her body and her face;
And a sweet disposition could win her the husband race.

But for those of us not beautiful or suitably sexy,
There were few options that our daddies could see.
The convents and the streets were no longer in need;
There were already too many in them for the men to lead.
What good families did with these drains on them
Was to give them to anyone with money like the men.

For the mistakes of wrong vocations, who must take the blame?
How many parents are there who still hang their heads in shame?
At least we see our children and their children have a voice
For exploring their gifts before they make a life's choice.
Not every woman is meant to mother, nor every man to be rich;
All jobs still need to be done, but the roles we now can switch.

It's too late for me to start over, as it is for my man.
We reached our core competencies in the past generation's plan.
I am simply grateful that our children must no more live the lies
By which our parents and their parents, their true gifts disguised.
All future generations, in all countries with liberty
Can seek The Spirit's guidance in what we each are meant to be.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Frosting and Physical Therapy

I can now add to my resume that I frosted a cake for the first lady of a state. The governor’s mansion’s chef, my buddy Holly, has been having increasing difficulty with her torn rotator and bicep. The motions required for spreading frosting required one of her more painful positions. I was honored to be called to her rescue. In the bargain, I got to hang out in the kitchen while the new governor and his wife ate their supper. They were delightfully friendly to me. It’s nice meeting public people in their private worlds.

I’m now waiting for Holly’s shoulder to be rebuilt. Because of her pain, her surgery was rescheduled for an earlier date than originally anticipated. This may make my chauffeur services unnecessary as she goes to Florida to accept her recently deceased husband’s industry award for his work in establishing safety standards for the residential window cleaning industry. Oh well, at least I’ll still head away from snow country, back to Louisiana, until the spring thaw in Coker Creek.

My major worry, at this point, is that Holly’s supposed to do daily post-surgery exercises to regain her range of motion. This is the second time that Holly is having her rotator cuff repaired, and she has told me how brutally painful the exercises are. She really may need a drill sergeant, and I’ve been informed by her that I’m an enabler. My daughter once told me that I want my children to grow, but don’t want them to go through the pain of growth. What’s a mother (or friend) to do?

Maybe I’ll call our Coker Creek friend Charlie for tips on being a “physical terrorist” as he was the impetus for our friend Jim actually exercising his new knee. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Impatient With Isolation

As teenagers, we're told to control ourselves,
To stifle it and to suck it up.
We put our emotions in a closet
To let out when the big crises erupt.

The artistic types use their artistry;
The athletes push them into muscles.
This leaves the mere mortals among us
All this emotion with which to struggle.

We close our eyes and our hearts
Until sex or drugs intervene;
Thinking we are our most grown up
When our passions aren't seen.

It's okay to show our inner selves
If we are drunk with lust or intoxication;
But the feelings we show to each other
Are often, for sin, mistaken.

One who swears to hold your heart comes along
You flirt, then jump into the middle.
You don't know the tidal wave that will emerge
Once, with the barriers, you've fiddled.

Each of the couple crawls back to their own closet;
When they couldn't survive on each other alone.
They work, they talk, and play with others,
And, if they're lucky, bring some love back home.

But what of the starving that happens to women
Left alone with their pasts and their babes?
From whom do they draw their uplifting,
When their mate's only emotion is rage?

And what of the many crying mothers who
Lose their husbands to war and pursuit of money?
From whom do they draw needed emotion
When they have lost their relationship's closet key?

Once you have a baby, I have a hole in your heart,
A path for your passion the whole world to see.
It's different than any you've felt before;
It's a wound from which you'll never be free.

It's best to find friends, say the older folks,
But what about the baby at your breast?
She is fussy no matter how much you mother,
And stimulation gives her more unrest.

The old ladies say you're doing it wrong,
As your man goes further away;
He thought that this marriage stuff
Was going to offer more chances to play.

You feel the pain of other mother/wives,
As their families have endless need.
Their mates, too, are working night and day,
As your hearts continue to bleed.

Who comes to rock the babies
Without giving us more pain?
Who can possibly be with us
Until we're strong again?

Who will hold our men for us,
And send them back still chaste?
Who can give so much of themselves
Without falling out of grace?

We're told to read our scriptures,
And bow our heads in prayer;
That, in this way, we'll feel
How much our God still cares.

But if the body human is
Still attached to Heaven,
Aren't each one of us put on earth
Each other's pain to leaven?

We are dying for lack of loving touch
That is freely, chastely given.
The children of our loins are,
Like we, to each other driven.

Are our churches and our homes
Giving them instruction by our actions,
How to give of ourselves and our gifts,
How to positively channel our passions?

And what about compassion
For the mistakes of others?
Are we teaching them to gently
Confront our sisters and brothers?

Or are we continuing
To hide in our own closets
Hoping that time alone
Will help us to forget?

Are we sitting with each other
Sharing the depths of our hearts?
Or are we still isolated
When the crises start?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valuing Our Veterans

I'm sitting in the canteen at the Atlanta VA hospital, waiting on my Richard to get his medications refilled. As I walked down the halls, I felt that I should genuflect or something as the many men and women who offered their lives up for my freedom passed me. I was overwhelmed with the sense that I should be stopping each of them and thanking them for their sacrifices made for a bunch of strangers.

I've been both gratified and horrified by what I know about the way we treat our military, once we finish using them to fight our bloody wars. Richard became disabled long after the end of his service as a medical officer in Vietnam.
We were lucky to be eligible for the program that gave all former military personnel who had served during wartime the opportunity to sign up for medication benefits.

Thirty thousand dollars in medications to keep Richard's new heart from rejection was going to be quite a burden on his greatly reduced income. It was worth the red tape to get him included, and we were able to drop his COBRA medical insurance rather than have his whole office lose their coverage because of the cost of covering him. I was happy that his service during the war in Vietnam was going to give him the benefit of having done the right thing, something not to be taken for granted while we inhabit this earth.

Since this fortuitous event in our lives, I've hung my head in shame more than once over the injustices done to many of our veterans and their families. A friend, who was raising three children while her pilot husband flew hospital planes in Vietnam, informed me that while she was waiting on his return, alone with her children, she received death threats from people accusing her husband of being a "baby killer."

Recently, a good friend with a minimal retirement income was diagnosed with a type of leukemia for which there are good treatments available. Knowing that this friend had served two tours of duty as a medic in Vietnam, we were sure that he would have no problem qualifying for his well-deserved prescription benefits. This turned out not to be the case. The enrollment for this program was closed shortly after Richard was successfully entered into it. It's bad enough that our friend is now faced with an impossible situation, as his medications cost eighty thousand dollars a year. What makes it even worse is that he had a service-related back injury for which he has consistently been denied benefits. It seems that the service "lost" his records.

The World War II veterans have been lauded as "the greatest generation", and I'm proud of Richard and his fellow World War II Museum volunteers for their efforts in honoring them. But the veterans of the wars we didn't win, Korea and Vietnam, are still experiencing disrespect and neglect. I hope we will live long enough to see this changed, and not simply by inscriptions on war memorials.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Exit Earth Mother

Now I've been told that I'm an enabler, which I'm sure is true.
I like to get people to like me by doing what they ask me to do.
Some call me the fairy godmother, others the wicked witch;
It depends on their perspective, and how I scratch their itch.

I don't build up to a crescendo; I'm here and then I'm gone;
The changes I leave in my wake leave some feeling quite forlorn.
So, I've decided that a little of me time goes a very long way
I usually get into trouble when I'm tempted to stay.

I'm like a walking meth lab, and apparently as dangerous
Explosions happen all around me and I cannot hear the fuss.
Until the toxic waste of these bombs chases all away,
And I'm left with nobody with whom I can play.

So I hide in my room because I don't want anyone hurt,
But when bullies enter the playground, my passions start to perk.
I usually come out flailing to protect the weak
And when the fighting's over, I'm told to take a seat.

The disciplinarians see me as big and strong;
The bullies act so meek, it looks like I am wrong.
But all I want is to make sure that the babies aren't harmed
I didn't know that I could cause such wounds without being armed.

I guess there is a reason they say the pen is mightier than the sword.
Whether spoken or written, it seems the mightiest weapons are words.
I am trying to sit back and stop fighting the battles of others;
I have to keep reminding myself I am not the whole earth's mother.

Healing of the Holy Spirit

Today was Youth Sunday at my daughter's family's church. This meant that the pre-teen and teen-age members of the congregation played all the parts in the service. There were songs written and played by the kids. The sermon expertly delivered by one of the girls that I have known for many years was a sterling example of the type of warm, personal, human testimony that were hallmarks of the sermons given by the former pastor that I heard yesterday on the subject of evangelism.

My first grandchild read the gospel with passion and concise diction, showing a great deal of stage presence. When she stood with the youth and sang, I wept copious tears flashing back to her early days in this same church, with these same families, my beautiful little angel granddaughter belting out her joy in Jesus like a baby Ethel Merman. Thankfully, she still shone as brightly with the glory of her God.

My pre-teen granddaughter had the role of the seemingly self-appointed encourager-in-charge of the various other participants in the program. (I like to believe that she got some of her cheer leading ability from her Granny.)Although she spends much time unsuccessfully attempting to hide her light under a bushel basket, she was masterful on the piano as the congregation "nailed" their burdens onto the cross of Christ. I asked my daughter to bring up my burden of multi-generational wounds, something my mother died praying for.

I was struck by the continuity in the liturgy; it all centered on the forgiving nature of God. The young men who gave the children's sermon had a wonderful way of explaining the importance of not burdening ourselves with shame over our mistakes. What great hope and joy these children exhibited! And what a wonderful legacy of their former pastor's evangelical abilities, which always put me in mind of what I've been taught about the ministry of Jesus.

Something that also struck me, both while I heard the former pastor and as I reveled in the beauty of the next generation's faith, was the lack of focus on confessing our sins against one another to each other and attempting to make amends. I left both gatherings with a heavy heart knowing how much pain is passed on from generation to generation because we don't believe that making the world right entails making amends for our transgressions to the people we have persecuted. And the sins of the parents continue to compound with each non-repentant generation.

My prayer several times each day is, "Holy Spirit, heal our hearts and heads. Oh, and please, Holy Spirit, take my tongue."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Peace and the Paraclete

I happen to be a jump-for-joy type;
This isn't to everyone's taste.
Some people require a more peaceful approach;
They get tired of my version of grace.

My daughter calls it "buzzing";
My teachers thought me quite bad.
My grandmothers and mom thought me awful,
And said I was just like my dad.

It was actually my mother who
Had the attention span of a flea.
I'm afraid that she passed her
Hummingbird ways down to me.

I love to be with peaceful people,
But sometimes I just bust a gut,
Trying to hold in my passion
For staying out of a rut.

Rituals make my stomach feel jumpy,
My son said it quite well.
There are many well-churched people
Who think we're both on a path to hell.

I'm trying really hard to stay away
From those who I make itch,
But I sometimes have the feeling that
It's the Holy Spirit making me twitch.

Passion and Persuasion

I went with my daughter to hear a beloved former pastor speak on the subject of evangelism. It seems that many churches believe this is a teachable skill. I'm not sure that evangelism is possible without a personal passion burning so brightly that people are drawn to the flame. Those that walk the walk toward joyful Holiness will have others asking to hear the talk.

When Richard and I were in Costa Rica many years ago, the praying mantises would be so drawn to the candlelight on our dinner table that they would reach for it and burn their little "hands". When my grandson was about two years old, he spied the sun setting over the water, jumped off the couch, and as he was drawn like in a trance toward the sight, he said, "Granny, look at the big orange ball. Can I touch it?". With these words, he put out his adorable little fingers with full confidence that he could touch the sun. All life is drawn to the light.

Some people just glow with their glory in God, their joy in Jesus, their happiness in the Holy Spirit, their peace in The Paraclete. How can others resist this power of persuasion? The most blessed with the light are the most needed to walk into the valley of darkness to retrieve the lost. This former pastor seems to be one of these people.

I have had several of my most cherished people facing cancer in the last year. They were at peace while I was dying inside. When I asked how they could be at such a peaceful place in the face of death, they immediately and repeatedly proclaimed that their peace came from their faith in the lessons taught by Jesus. I have faith, but I'm still dying inside at the thought of losing them.

I guess I wouldn't worry so much about missing the faces, voices, hugs, smiles, and smells of my loved ones if I was the one going to God. And I sure hate knowing that they'll be so happy that they'll never miss me as a mere mortal. I am, however, thrilled that they're not adding their own fear to my mourning, and it all comes from a belief in the promise of the Eternal Spirit of Wholeness.

There's an old church song taught to children, "I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart..." Live it and they will come, and when they ask how you can be so joyful even in the face of death, be prepared with an answer straight from your heart about the source of your joy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Helping Holiness

It has occurred to me that greed and speed
Have convinced us that we have unmet need.
This has been our curse since our beginning,
The opening volley in mankind's sinning.

We talk about trusting in our God,
But I find it to be increasingly odd
That we want to force change in each other,
Not understanding our sisters and brothers.

Everything seems a competition for more,
Instead of accepting what I was meant for.
Faster we push to get there first;
The more we get, things only get worse.

It is not meant for me to save all of man,
But I do have a place in the Infinite Plan.
I'll step back and pray to see my mission;
Only this will clear my clouded vision.

Heal my head and heal my heart
Show me how to play my part
In creating a space for balance and peace,
In this way, helping holiness to increase.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Winter World

New Orleans in winter with it's many delights,
The food, the passions, the sounds, the sights.
The streetcar rumbling along the track
Calls the city's children to please come back.
Church bells ring out three times a day,
Reminding us to give thanks, ponder, and pray.

In a courtyard, on St. Charles Avenue,
There's a world shared with the blessed few,
The beauty of winter roses in bloom,
The scent of the Sweet Olive's perfume.
Sasanquas are still gracing our eyes
With the winter gardens' most special prize.
The Crepe Myrtle is a flirty tree,
With no winter bark, she's a sight to see,
Enticing with her bare lacy arms
Come June, she'll display all of her charms.
In a secret corner, a magnolia or two
Will scent the summer air with her lemony brew.
Azaleas abound, though they're not in bloom
Dark green a backdrop for the colors coming soon.

People passing in the streets
Saying hello to all one meets.
This city throbs with love for life
Beneath the scars of her ongoing strife.
I want to be here as she rewrites her story
And this Dame in Distress recovers her glory.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who Knows Where Life Will Lead Me

I've been feeling very conflicted about returning to the snow country of Coker Creek. We have some business to which we have to attend up there, but I'm very uncomfortable about trying to get emergency medical care during periods of being snow bound. Now I have a good excuse for not going home just yet, but I'll be close enough to possibly come for a visit for a snow-free day or two. Of course, we all know I don't overnight in the forest without my man, but I may make an exception if one of my Atlanta girls will accompany me.

My governor's mansion's chef friend in Atlanta tore up the muscles and tendons in her right arm when she fell on Christmas day. Seeing as she's pretty incapacitated and needing surgery, I've decided to accept her offer to come stay with her at her Atlanta area home for a few weeks. Included in this time will be providing chauffeur services to her and her mom for their before-the-diagnosis scheduled post-op trip to Florida.

While in Florida, my friend will accept her recently deceased husband's award for his work in establishing safety standards for residential window washers at the annual window cleaners convention. Can I be any more selfless than to move in with a renowned chef in a non-snow bound city, and go for a dead-of-winter trip to Florida with a best buddy?

My many-talented man is probably going to stay in New Orleans helping manage the refurbishing of a PT boat for the World War II Museum. The project director's wife is having multiple cancer surgeries, so I may just travel north without my Richard. I may be crazy leaving my man alone in the City of Sin, but I sure like leaving him in the hands of a bunch of boat builders better than with my widow women friends in the forest. I'd hate for them to get to used to having his talents around their houses and decide to keep him for their very own.

Who knows where life will lead me next. All these people in my life certainly make for many adventures.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Whole Again

It seems to me that we are meant to see
The Almighty as The Creator of our history.
Since time began for woman and for man
We've been part of a master plan.

We know we've strayed and pulled apart
The world that portrays Creation's heart.
Isn't it time we seek the fear to end,
And focus on ways to help our earth to mend?

Let's begin by confessing to sisters and brothers
The ways that we know we've wronged each other.
Open our hearts to becoming, once more, one;
In The Holy Spirit we're daughters and sons.

We're the children of Creation's light most pure,
Striving to find the eternal cure
For our turning from The Light in our arrogance.
Each of us must now seek to mend the broken fence.

We are not meant to look and talk the same;
We are sent to gather the well and the lame.
The common call of Eternal Peace,
We must pray to find a way to release.

Let us send it out on wings of doves,
With a message of Infinite Saving Love.
Let's share our joy and absorb others' pain,
So with all Creation we may be whole again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rejection and Resetting

Why do our babies fight us when they don't need us anymore;
Can't they say, "I'll call you" and gently close the door?
Why do they act as if they always knew how to walk?
Are words of angry rejection why they were taught to talk?

Dare I take the chance of finally saying, "No more";
To find out what values bind us at our core?
Love is not a feeling; it's action and a bond,
I can deeply love a person of whom I don't feel fond.

It seems that when we have opened our souls to our friends,
The relationships are not strengthened; rather, they're bound to end.
The pupa can't become a butterfly without being set free.
I pray that the reset button leads the butterflies back to me.

Sometimes I'm told that I make my own hell,
A lightless dungeon in which I often dwell.
I always see a glimmer, no matter how far away.
When the darkness scares me, I grab a friend and pray.

Monday, January 17, 2011

All The Love Has Leaked Out

Sometimes I see lives where all the love has leaked out.
I'm not sure where it began or what it's all about;
All I know is that at some point, what was there is gone,
Leaving everyone who loves both people feeling so forlorn.
What can we do to help those who are searching in the dark?
How can we help them reignite their relationship spark?
I think that we can only look back at their younger selves,
Hoping to find the sweetness that in every baby dwells.
Push the reset button to help them heal the pain;
Assist them and their loved ones to find their purity again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Change and Choices

I really don't know what to say
About our continuing to be away,
Except that it became impossible
For my love and me to prolong our stay.

I tried so hard to to be content;
For this was where we had been sent.
But I couldn't keep the sense of peace
That, to me, was obviously lent.

I yearned for my people and my land
That most clearly had left their brands.
Upon my flesh and on my soul,
I felt that they had kept their hands.

History shared is such a strong bond;
It lasts our lifetimes and beyond.
These people here help me to see
That love is more than feeling fond.

It is becoming a part of me
As my true self comes to be,
The Holy Spirits that light my way
And give me a sense of being free.

Free to fly with my strongest wings,
And to listen as The Spirit sings,
The stabilizer in my soaring
Like the tail on a kite brings.

I wish that I could take all I know
To the world where I love to go.
But the path is not all magic carpet ride;
Sometimes I land with a crushing blow.

The time has come to make a choice:
Which one is the strongest voice,
The friends that give us space to rest,
Or those with whom our souls rejoice?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Proceeding to Pray

I've had very little time to write
Because everything has become a fight.
A fight to help my friend's depression,
Made worse by her husband's and sons' oppression;
A fight with attorneys who give opinions,
Before all the facts to them are given;
A fight to find a place to rent
Because on a yard our minds are bent.

A fight to make the museum understand
That we truly love lending a hand;
But we'd like a bit of consideration
For the tolls that our help is taking:
Time away from friends and family,
And travel doesn't come for free.
We have asked, and it would be grand
If from museum any payment was planned.

I'm not complaining; I'm trying to trust
That all we need will come to us
After all, it's very easy to see
That what we need usually comes to be.
But the waiting can be such a chore;
I'm used to pushing for faster and more.
I must calm down and proceed to pray
For guidance on what I'm to do each day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sad, Mad , and Glad

I have long known that the way to impart one's values is at the table; didn't Jesus feed people before speaking the sermon on the mount? I figured that I was a good cook, but I wasn't so sure that my values were worth sharing. This is what I had been taught be my teachers, mother, and other mothers, especially my grandmas. Consequently, I've spent my life providing the feasts, but not otherwise participating in the parties. I'm too old to keep up all the labor, and I'm now faced with the next generation, in the course of casual conversation, asking me what I believe. Dare I impart the impressions I have from my experience with life, love and The Light of The Spirit of Wholeness?

One of my best friends recently insisted the I believe in "God". Whether or not I believe in "God" is a question that hes been posed to me since my children were small. You'd think that I'd have a simple "yes" or "no" answer, but that has never been the case with any questions posed to me. My stock answer then was "Yes, but I don't believe everything people say about God." I've amended that to, "I believe in The Spirit of Wholeness (Holiness): my definition of The Holy Spirit."

I believe that man has, over the ages, described "God" as resembling too closely what man is, the good and the bad of humankind. I believe that The Spirit of Light and Love (Positive Energy) is both the male and the female Energy of Life which manifests Itself in many ways to many people. Naming The Almighty limits the scope of The Entity and discredits the many manifestations of The Infinite Light that have been experienced over the ages. Maybe the Native Americans had it right when they spoke of the Great Spirit. Perhaps the Jews are right in pronouncing this spirit as the breath of life (Yah-weh). Maybe the Muslims are correct in pointing toward the goodness in all of us as being manifestations of The Holy Spirit when they refer to the Almighty as "We".

What I believe is that all of creation that comes from The Almighty is part of the plan for Eternal Life. I believe that all of creation is spun from The Almighty Energy and that all of creation will eventually come back into oneness with The Source. I believe that time and space exist only in our minds, and that in The Eternal's scheme of things all energy will be purified and return to the Infinite Power of the Positive.

I feel blessed to have been exposed to the Judeo-Christian path to Eternity; I think it makes my journey on earth more bearable as, through this value system, I have a sense of the peace that comes with embracing The Positive in this life. It is easy for me to see a way toward The Eternally Peaceful Positive in looking at the the many manifestations of the Positive Power in this history that led to the life, and the life of, Jesus. I believe that this quest to come back to oneness with The Spirit of Wholeness continues today, and that each of us is tasked with using our bits of this Positive Energy to help in the process.

While it seems true that some are blessed with more gifts than others, it is my belief that the greater the gifts, the greater the responsibility to share them wisely. To connect with this wisdom, we must pull back and open ourselves to the inflowing of The Spirit. This Spirit will lead us on the path to Perfection in all we do. There is no end to the Positive Energy into which we can tap. This Energy is absent in all jealousy and hatred. We will be led by this Spirit to understand that which we fear instead of destroying the sources of our fears.

The Prayer of Francis of Assisi states this very well: "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

I didn't know until very recently that the Spirit of Holiness was available to me. Being with my loved ones who have known me through all the thrills and tribulations of my life has renewed me. It is true that I can cuss like a sailor, but those words aren't all of me. I don't curse people, simply situations that seem negative to me.If someone is torturing a dog, most of us would step in to save the animal, but we allow the most brutal treatment of human beings without even a word of protest.There are, after all, some things that shouldn't be silently endured, and we can't always walk away.

I was taught that I had it all wrong, so I simply went away sad. I may not always be glad, and sometimes the meanness of people makes me feel quite mad, but knowing that I can sit at the table of The Almighty and be fed whenever I'm hungry for The Light has made me feel quite glad.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adorable Little Angels

The responsibilities of molding little minds and keeping little bodies alive was a great burden to me when I had my own children. Not so with the children of my children. I'm now sure that I was right about wishing I could have been a grandparent without having to first be a parent. Grandparents get the best of the deal. No matter what stage the grandchildren are in, they turn into the light of life when left alone with grandma -- At least when the day is structured around shopping for their new wardrobes with granny's wallet full of grandpa's hard-earned cash.

It seems impossible that these shining angels could ever say an unkind word, and they seem to hang on every utterance issuing forth from the wealth of Granny's wisdom. I saw nary an eye roll, nor any attempts to hide the fact that they were with me as we ran into their school friends. This is so different from how it was when I shopped with their parents. Have I changed, or have the little darlings been threatened with death if they upset the granny. Who cares? It works for me to have moments when the babies that I held with such pure joy, again share their most angelic selves with me.

It was quite the day of shopping with my twelve-year-old granddaughter. I was allowed to be her personal assistant as we tore through almost endless racks of deeply discounted attire. I did feel the need to preface announcement of my finds with the disclaimer that I was simply locating the shirts in her size with no judgment as to suitability of style. I felt that this may protect me from too many comments about my taste, or lack thereof. What fun it was to realize that she, like her sister and her cousins, wanted me to stay close by to give my opinion on what she would wear.

All this holiday shopping with grand progeny went so well that I'm looking forward to repeating the adventures with my son's children for their January and February birthdays. Can it be that grandparents are the way to attitude adjustments when things get too hot on the home front? I'd pit a good day with a grandparent against all the antidepressant drugs on the market. At least, grandparents aren't known for being destructively addictive. Well, maybe sometimes...if they bake a lot.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Magical Memories and Meals

This has been the most magical Christmas in my recent memory. Instead of racing around to retailers all by myself, I've been busy expanding Christmas by taking my most special ones shopping or on other outings, one or two at a time. This sort of began when one niece came to stay with us during her sabbatical from teaching and continues even today.

It continued through days and nights with best friends, a few at a time; shopping adventures with my son, his wife and their children; waking with Richard all by ourselves on Christmas morning; dining with and delighting in other nieces and nephews; de-decorating my dear friend's tree with her as we catch up in our pajamas; and languishing in the love of my daughter and her darling girls.

On Sunday, my daughter and I spent the day chatting and seeing a play together; it's the most marvelous thing having an adult child as a friend. Her sixteen-year-old daughter and I spent the next day arm-in-arm, doing about a dozen stores. What fun we had as I watched her pirouette in front of the various mirrors, like she didn't do when she was a toddler; she was much too busy putting things in order. I loved watching her be a fairy princess.

Today, the twelve-year-old and I will hit the mall and a nice Hallmark shop that is going out of business. While her sister is quite the bargain hunter in building a wardrobe, I'm not sure what kind of shopping we'll do today. I do know that this granddaughter loves to peruse gift items for others. She can usually wile away a few hours laughing along with me at the silly and sweet sayings on the cards and cute gift items on the shelves. This is also a more gourmet granddaughter, and much more easily embarrassed by public shows of emotion. I don't expect arm-in-arm camaraderie, but I hope for lots of laughs -- and more than likely a good meal.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Progeny Payback

Our children were almost grown when Richard came into our lives. We have few opportunities to say to our children, "You're getting back what you put us through." But there are some times that we simply have to gloat.

Scott was fifteen when Richard became my man. He was living with his daddy and doing a fine job of teenage triangling. If Dad said, "No," (which didn't happen often) he'd simply ask Mom. This may have been because his grandparents were deceased, so he couldn't ask them. When Scott rescued the third dog from the side of the road, his dad had had enough. This dog was quite the digger, and Scott's dad really loved his backyard retreat. This part-lab puppy just had to go. "But, Mom," Scott pleaded, "if you don't take him, Dad's going to take him to the shelter, and they'll kill him."

Scott's dad tried to convince people that he didn't like children or dogs. His children he called "My Girl" and "My Boy." All dogs were called "Dog." There was "Dog 1", "Dog 2", and he wasn't having "Dog 3." I had spent my life attempting to convince my children that they couldn't drag responsibilities home to me and expect that I would take care of them. Here we were on the horns of a dilemma; I was massively missing my boy. He was begging for a bond to me through this dog. What was a mother to do?

I knew that I didn't want a dog, but Richard loved all small, helpless life forms. We were most times busy babysitting this niece and that nephew, so maybe I could bring a puppy into the mix. I agreed to become foster parents to this dog until Scott could find him another home. And the games began.

We renamed the dog "Tuxedo" because of his sleek black coat with a white ruff. He was happy inside, but Richard just couldn't stop obsessing over how lonely the dog was to be locked out of our bedroom away from his "pack." He also never learned to read the silent signals that Tuxedo gave when he needed to go out. I relegated Tuxedo to the back yard. Tuxedo was definitely modeled on Dr. Suess's The Diggingest Dog. The yard soon looked like a mine field, which Richard referred to as the "Meuse-Argonne". Richard filled in the holes and built a kennel in the garage for the dog, but he still needed outside time.

Tuxedo apparently got nervous when he heard other dogs that he couldn't see through the wooden privacy fence. This led him to chew through the strapping on our lawn furniture -- twice. I ordered new strapping, and Richard taught himself the method for boiling it until it became soft enough to stretch across the metal frame. But Tuxedo had only begun his reign of destruction.

As do most air conditioner compressors, our unit made an awful racket when kicking on. Tuxedo must have thought this was some kind of dangerous invader, as he chewed through the wires until that noise was taken care of -- twice. The air conditioner repairman was quite amused when he had to come back the second time. Richard ordered a tooth-proof casing for the wiring, and announced that we had to get rid of "Scott's" dog before he put us into bankruptcy.

I knew that this wouldn't happen once Richard had a night to sleep on other options. His next free week-end, it was off to Home Depot for supplies to build a custom dog run, complete with washdown drain. Only Richard would have spent time making sure that the grains on each fence board were compatible before buying them. Tuxedo now had the nicest dog run in town.

We were foster parents until Scott got to be about nineteen and moved into one of his dad's rental homes with his wife. He and she were sitting at our supper table while Scott expounded on how he and his wife could now reclaim his dog, but he knew Richard had gotten so attached that he would want permanent custody. Richard heard him and immediately went to the garage and gathered up all Tuxedo's toys and other belongings. Within minutes, Scott's dog and all his stuff were in Scott's vehicle. Scott was stunned, but Tuxedo was his responsibility.

Now, Scott is caring for our ninety-six pound fur ball while we look for rental accommodations. When he took me out back to explain to me how Gypsy Woman had dug up his back yard, I couldn't help but secretly smile as I commiserated with him. Richard, on the other hand, upon hearing the story, can't stop roaring with laughter, and that's only when he's not smirking in mirth.