Monday, January 28, 2008

Random Acts...

This poem is for my family -- husband, cousins, brothers, sister, parents -- all of whom are responsible for periodic spontaneous random kindness and senseless acts of beauty that have blessed my life. At the moment I am still reeling from one such random act of kindness from a cousin, who sent to me quite on his own, some pottery bowls and clay beads that my Aunt Betty had made. I had no idea that these things even existed. It makes my eyes water. It has brought an ordinary pleasure into my life that will continue to well up for the rest of my life.

The Pleasures of an Ordinary Life

I’ve had my share of necessary losses
Of dreams I know no longer can come true.
I’m done now with the whys and the becauses
It’s time to make things good, not just make do
It’s time to stop complaining and pursue
The pleasures of an ordinary life.

I used to rail against my compromises.
I yearned for the wild music, the swift race.
But happiness arrived in new disguises.
Sun lighting a child's hair.
A friend's embrace.
Slow dancing in a safe and quiet place.
The pleasures of an ordinary life.

I'll have no trumpets, triumphs, trails of glory.
It seems the woman I've turned out to be
Is not the heroine of some grand story.
But I have learned to find poetry
In what my hands can touch, my eyes can see.
The pleasures of an ordinary life.

Young fantasies of magic and of mystery
Are over. But they really can't compete
With all we've built together: A long history.
Connections that help render us complete.
Ties that hold and heal us. And the sweet,
Sweet pleasures of an ordinary life.

Judith Viorst, Forever Fifty and Other Negotiations. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1989

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Couple of Baboons

Like many women my age, I am suddenly plagued with little hairs on my chinny chin chin. Only in my case, they aren’t so little. Fortunately though, the hairs are white, so they are not immediately obvious when anyone looks at me. I mean it doesn’t look like I’m trying to grow a beard or anything, I only have maybe 3 or 4 hair follicles that are producing these long, wiry hairs. I am not even aware of them most of the time unless I happen to rub my chin or along my jaw and feel one. Then it drives me nuts trying to pull it out. (And yes, I do exactly the same thing as she is doing in the comic ... twiddle, twiddle, twiddle.) Its hard to see them in the mirror, and even harder to grab them with the tweezers. Fortunately, R is there to help. He regularly inspects my chin for hairs and pulls them out if he finds one. Just the other day he glanced over at me while we were standing side by side at the counter working on lunch, stopped what he was doing, grabbed my face with one hand and very kindly yanked out one of them, and then felt around for others. He starts to laugh, “just like a couple of baboons doing communal grooming...”

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I Am Resolved...

I made two New Year’s resolutions last year. The first was to read through the Bible by the end of the year, and the second was to pick up my clothes instead if leaving them strewn on the floor around the bed. I kept the first resolution. Now, whether I truly “kept” the second resolution is a bit “iffy,” but I did so very well compared to the way I have been most of my life—last year none of my clothes stayed on the floor longer than overnight—that I decided to reaffirm those resolutions for this year and make an additional one, which I suspect is going to be very difficult indeed given the pattern that has developed in our lives over the years.

One way that we have found to help us cope with the depression, frustration, anger, and heartache we feel as a result of our son’s life is to call him names—never to his face, of course—but in our conversations about him:

  • He’s an idiot.
  • What a fool.
  • He is so stupid.
  • He hasn’t got a brain in his head.
  • He’s as dumb as a box of rocks.
  • He is hopeless

And more...

Having succeeded in reading through the Bible last year, I have been having trouble ignoring certain verses that talk about words being as “sharp as swords” vs “healing,” and “blessing” vs “cursing,” and “the tongue has the power of life and death.” And then, finally, there is bruising my nose on the stone wall of “...every thoughtless word you speak you will have to account for on the day of judgment.”

True, none of these words have been spoken to his face, but they have gone out into the spirit realm, and who knows what negative effect they might have had. At any rate, for the New Year my goal will be to eliminate those phrases from my speech—and my thoughts—and speak blessing on his life, words of healing and positive affirmation. I hate to think that the thoughts and words I have been transmitting might have thwarted the power of God to work in our son’s life. So, we’ll see what a change in the broadcast does...