Archive for the ‘love’ Tag

FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!   7 comments

I avoided writing here for a while for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been happily busy and second, because I like to keep my entries simple, and life – mine anyway – has become complex. Yes, really, complex though simple.

First off, I haven’t been away from home here at the Waters since March 8 – sequestered with all the residents to protect against COVID-19, basically confined to my lovely first floor apartment. Meals delivered, Zoom activities provided, trash and recycling removed from outside my door, walks around the patio that surrounds my home on the southeast corner. Watching the plantings green up and blossom. I’ve missed out on the planned cruise with Doug to Kiev and area, lots of theater and concerts, and planned family activities. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. I am happy as a clam with the opportunity to finish the editing of My Father’s House in cooperation with Susan Thurston Hamerski working for Calumet publishers And too the almost finalizing of It sucks! I wanted to live (tentative title) by Nick Spooner. Basically the collection of his Facebook entries from the time of his glial blastoma (or two) diagnosis until his death. I never would have had the time if I’d been on my planned schedule.

On our recent cruise to Japan we noticed that just about everyone was comfortably wearing a face mask. Male or female, walking, driving, scootering, motorcycling, bicycling, dressed with black suits or attractive dresses, carrying briefcases, or more casual in doing daily chores. On a previous Asia Pacific cruise we had concluded the masks were to protect against the intense smog. More recently the smog had largely lifted but the masks remained. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN! I talked constantly about the opportunity for someone to produce designer masks. Just take a look around now.

When I was teaching the psychology of women at Southern Connecticut State University back in the 1970’s we used to imagine a future where people could work from home making possible the combination of career with parenting. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!.

These days I shed tears a lot. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. The tears don’t come when I’m sad. No, when I’m touched by folks caring for others in heroic ways or just plain cooperation and kindness, as in wearing a face mask and keeping distance, or singing and applauding from the balconies. I’m touched by the virtual celebration of high school and college 2020 grads. This morning I watched the distance celebration of the Connecticut College class of 2020. Yesterday with some time left over I worked at organizing my photographs, encountering Connecticut College friends from our early days to the many years of gatherings at Cape Cod. And family from birth to now. I am overwhelmed with the sense of love and friendship and being part of history. I know that what’s going on currently is as big as – maybe even bigger than – the industrial revolution. The tears reflect my hope, I think, that we will emerge with a commitment to cleaner skies, fairer education and living standards, Just plain more love.

FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. I don’t cry when mean things make me sad. Maybe it’s hard to be mad and sad at the same time. The contrasts! Oh the contrasts between my comfort and the terrible misery of so many others. It’s been a long time since I gave up my childlike belief in Hell, but about a week ago it struck me that even if I feared hell I should fear no more, because we’re here now. If I believed in reincarnation, I’d be worried that I’d suffer in my next life to make up for all the happiness I have now.

And sometimes, like my father many years before me, I’m glad I’m living the end of my journey.

FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. With all that, I can’t help waking each day with gratitude – and chest expanding love for my family and friends. And the opportunity to feel safe about being up front here with all of you.

See what I mean? This is too long.

THE WORLD WAR II FEELING        10 comments

I’m pretty sure a piece of me is going to feel embarrassed after I post this, but here goes. I think my father would have approved with that look of “oops. There she goes again.” Anyway …

This morning it suddenly washed over me – that WWII feeling – a warm safe feeling, believe it or not. No, I don’t love war. Yes, I’m ridiculously a pacifist, at least as far as I’ve been tested. But I am old enough to remember my Aunt Esther and Uncle Frank arriving unexpectedly at our kitchen door on a Sunday in December, 1941, to announce that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor? Where’s that? It wasn’t the memory of that mysterious and scary announcement that warmed me this morning. Or the worry about my brother and brother-in-law and cousins or fellow church members off to war. It wasn’t the nighttime trips around the neighborhood with my best friend Hallie to make sure all windows were blackened to the light within, or the ridiculous recollection of us two on a building roof spotting for enemy planes. I couldn’t tell an airplane from a mosquito in flight to say nothing of distinguishing an enemy plane.

It wasn’t the image of gathering by the radio on our nook table – the one that looked like a church front, or maybe by the floor-standing unit in our living room, ingesting the daily news. It wasn’t the careful accounting and saving of ration stamps or storing our weekly purchase of canned foods in the pantry my father built in the basement. It wasn’t the memory of crushing the emptied and cleaned aluminum cans to contribute to the war effort.

No. I can’t verbalize the feeling, but it brings me close to tears. That sense of coming together. Almost a visual image of lots of scattered pieces of metal rushing together to the magnetized center of energy. Do I dare call it love? Togetherness is such a weak word. A rush to join on the same metaphorical path with the whole country. Sure, I was pretty young, and memory is a constantly changing creative process. But the feeling was real. I think it’s happening.

That’s the felling that crept up on me this morning. I have been sure for a long time that out of our current stresses and struggles there is going to emerge a better country, a better world. These are birth pangs, I know. But today I felt it, maybe because of the coming together of those of us who live here at the Waters of Excelsior – isolated in our own apartments, separated physically from each other, joined by so much creative caring, and buttressed by staff and so many outside our walls.  (I confess; my eyes are tearing. Some one of these days I’ll tell the story of how my friend Milt Turbiner helped me overcome that tight-throated Swedish stoicism that once was a virtue.)

That’s it. My confession. So corny, but I feel the love.

Thanks to all.

ANTICIPATING LENT (February 26 – April 9, 2020)   11 comments

Time out from focusing on “My Father’s House” to pay attention to the church season ahead. Yes, it is in the Christian tradition, but I hope it will be of interest starting with my atheist friends and on down, because I think we all care about the ultimate goal of the season – at least as I understand it.

To tell the truth, the season never meant terribly much to me personally before I grew up in my much later years. I do remember the year when I wanted to be like so many of my friends, so I gave up something – reading the comics. That was a major sacrifice given that my parents were scared to death about the effect the “funnies” might have on me. After all, I did greedily consume the violent ones. I guess maybe that sacrifice accomplished something – I found I had the strength of will to survive such a long period of time without a comics fix.

I was probably about 13 years old the year I gave up boys. I’m not really sure in recollection what that meant since I was certainly not busy dating, or even particularly attractive to the other sex. I do know there were times when Hallie had to go off to dances (or something) by herself because of my determination. What did that sacrifice accomplish? I don’t know – maybe a respite from having to deal with whatever changes were going on inside me.

I remember a friend in college who gave up pistachio ice cream for lent – her least favorite ice cream, I think.

And I began to hear of Catholic friends who celebrated something called Tenebrae at church on the Thursday before good Friday, working the way to Easter.

Then there was the very fortunate discovery that, at least to the Catholics in the family I married into, Sundays were a kind of day off from the Lenten fast, as was Saint Patrick’s day. That worked out well because my son’s birthday was March 17, so my Lutheran family and Lou’s Catholic family could all enjoy birthday cake between meals at his celebration. That’s when I realized that the forty days of Lent really were forty days.

As you can see, I was a slow learner. It happened one day when I was reading the gospel lesson on the crucifixion at a women’s meeting at church that I started to cry. My son was the age of Jesus when he died on the cross. The sadness washed over me. This was real! No wimpy story of some magic that happened on those two pieces of wood crossed together at the front of the church.

Finally, when I was old enough that I should have known better for decades, I realized that Tenebrae began on Maundy Thursday. Why “Maundy?” Because that’s the day that Jesus, knowing the torture, humiliation, and death he was about to endure, gave his disciples – and us — the new commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Now I can say this next thing without censure, because the Lutheran church was wise enough to block my idea of being a minister – wrong body type (until sometime in the 60s by which time I did the church the favor of giving up on the idea.)

Maundy Thursday is the most important day in the church calendar year. The new commandment – love!

Awake at 3:30 am last night, I tried to terminate the sad thoughts of all the suffering going on in the world so I could go back to sleep. Warm chocolate almond milk and raw cashews enjoyed in my comfortable chair, distracted by reading, usually does it. This time I was reading “Sojouners” with a series of articles on Lent and my thoughts piled up on “What can I do to make this Lenten season meaningful?” Giving up something just doesn’t hack it. Just as eating everything on my plate didn’t feed the “starving people in India” when I was little. It’s not about satisfying my need for personal goodness. Do something? I’ve always been a physical coward and now my age just gives legitimacy to such avoidance.

What do I do as I enjoy my comfortable chair in my comfortable home with comfortable food available with a walk down the hall? I don’t know. Sign petitions? Donate for social justice? A drop in the bucket. Maybe that’s enough. It takes many drops to make an ocean.

I know it’s important to feel the pain, but not so much that I can’t feel the joy, or even spread it. Any suggestions?

I’m hoping …

 

ANOTHER LEG ON THE JOURNEY TO MY NEW HOME   7 comments

Since I closed on the sale of my townhome on August 30th, I’ve had a wonderful time living first with my friend and neighbor Jean in the unit across the way, and then Dianne, two units down. Now it’s time to leave here and move in on my son for a few days before we take off for the South American cruise we arranged to help me kill time – and find food and shelter – for another segment of the journey to the Waters of Excelsior. I’ve seen my unit twice, now, the second time to request some modifications. I love my apartment — can hardly wait to move in. But I have to wait for my scheduled move-in day — December 3.

In the process, my life has become a rather disorganized – albeit pleasurable – mess. But I have managed to stay on top of “My Father’s House.” At the suggestion of MaryCarroll Moore in the course I took at Madeline Island, the 900 some pages are being divided into separate books. The first one, with the working title “My Father’s House: Book One – from Tursås, Sweden to Forestville/Bristol Connecticut,” is about 300 pages long. Now I’m looking for people – preferably who don’t know me – to review it before it gets another editing — and then, probably, another. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate hearing them, and I’m happy to attach a “Word” copy to someone who’d like to commit to the task/pleasure. This is the time when I need people to be honest in their comments.

A good thing about e-mail is that it follows pretty easily wherever I go. I can even get it sporadically when I’m at sea (literally as well as figuratively.)

My regret is that I haven’t eked out the time to fulfil my middle-of-the night intentions to blog about my hopes and fears for my country and my part in it. In a nutshell, I long for decisions based on hope, compassion, and love. I dread choices based on fear, isolation, and hate. In the sleepless hours I’ve read Olivia Hawker’s “The Ragged Edge of Night.” (I do recommend it.) It’s the story of ordinary German’s working to live, love, survive and thrive in the shattering results of Hitler’s fascism. As bombs drop in the nearby city, and personal destruction threatens, they frequently ask the question, “When could we have acted to stop it?’ I ask the same question now – “How can we stop it?”

Like the characters in the novel, I know I have to work at staying alive, happy, and productive to avoid the potential for inaction and despair as I can’t avoid exposure to political smear tactics. My father and his house saw many terrible periods in our history, but I am sure there wasn’t the desire to destroy those in the opposition even after victory has been won.

So, I wish healthy, productive, and satisfying survival and growth mechanisms for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVE A COPY OF THIS LOVELY LITTLE BOOK TO YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP TO SHARE WITH FOLKS WHO WANT TO SHOW THEIR LOVE,   2 comments

I just posted this review of “Now to Him”on amazon.com

May 27, 2017

This is a beautiful little book. Forty-five pages of honesty, love, and faith. “A Prayer of Hope through one family’s struggle with autism” just as the author says it is.

Yes, people who are struggling with the same problem may find comfort, but my hope is that people who have been spared will read it for kinder understanding of families faced with the issue. To know how one can give loving support just by avoiding judgmental criticism. To think twice before giving the dirty look when the family of an autistic child tries to enjoy an outing in a restaurant, for example.

This is a book for people who want to spread love in ways that cost nothing more than understanding.

I am donating my copy to my church library, with the hope that those serving the library will find a public way to encourage parishioners to stop by for a quick read, or even to sign it out.

Truly a book about love and faith that encourages the expression of faith-filled love.

In fact, I’d be very happy to see it ordered for the libraries in all houses of worship for those who seek ways to share their love.

 

 

 

WISHING GOOD THINGS AT THIS HOLIDAY TIME   12 comments

In past years I’ve managed to do something relatively elaborate to wish my friends a happy holiday. This year not so much, but my joy in your friendship is none-the-less nurturing, exciting and powerful.

As I think you know, my big event of the year was turning my lovely little Acura RSX into a flattened pile of metal and stuff that looked in the end like an aluminum can crushed under foot in preparation for the recycling bin. That was on April 15, when I was on my way home looking forward to two unscheduled days to dig into some of my ongoing projects.

Most of those projects are still active in my head, but I’m way behind in carrying them out. I did get to follow through on plans to take part in a forum on forgiveness at the Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church on April 28. With the help of my son who got my computer to me at Auburn Manor where I was rehabbing, I was able to create handouts illustrating my new approach to presenting forgiveness issues, emphasizing that justice and mercy are two sides of the same coin. Auburn manor made it easy for me to work within the recovery schedule, and some very generous folks from the church managed to get me there and back to present from a wheelchair. Quite dramatic, really.

One of my projects now is to write about my crash, what I’ve learned from it, and the impact it’s had on my life. I have started working on it, discovering that I have to go back to check records to remind me where I was when. Memory, never a simple file folder in the brain, is more vague than I thought it would be. But you will probably be exposed to it eventually.

Work also proceeds on “My Father’s House.” Right now it’s mostly doing research about Bristol, Connecticut and life and times around 1910. Totally stalled, however, is the creation of questions for groups to use in discussing “Figs and Pomegranates and Special Cheeses.” I’m hopeful they will eventually encourage more adoption of “Figs … . “ Then there’s my blog, and my facebook page, so badly ignored as they fall to the bottom of the priorities list.

I’ve been out of the three-month sentence to the torso brace since July 17. Whew! What a relief. But regaining my energy is still an ongoing process, along with getting accustomed to my shorter stature after losing two inches to my L1 compression fracture. And what a shock when I realized how it had changed my body structure! Yes, I worked hard at keeping good posture, but my clothes needed a lot of adjusting. The local tailor was wonderful at working around the brace to alter clothes to fit for our July 28 departure on a planned three-week cruise to the Shetland Islands, Iceland, and Norway.

The flight on the way over did hurt. I walked the aisles a lot, but three weeks of rest, walking, and fun worked wonders. The trip home was very comfortable. I still need to lie on my back occasionally when pain starts to build up – especially after working at my computer, and walking is amazingly helpful. But my chiropractor/nutritionist tells me things will keep on getting better. Certainly I have no basis for complaining when I think of what might have happened if my Acura, its seat belts, and air bags hadn’t taken such good, protective care of me.

I loved all the places we visited on the cruise. I intended to share a few photos on my blog, but I haven’t made it past the point of beginning to learn how to post movies. Just beginning to learn how – still haven’t done it.

As for photos, I haven’t yet downloaded the few I took on our restful and fun four-night Thanksgiving stay at Cove Point in Beavers Falls, outside Duluth. Because then, of course, came the preparation for Christmas. I am no longer responsible for “creating” the celebration, but, given my propensity to purchase gifts through the year while traveling, it does fall to me to wrap them all and get them to their destinations.

All these words just to explain why I haven’t been writing on my blog and facebook! And I thought I was going to write just a brief paragraph.

Finally,to the point. Two points, actually. (1) Rejoice! The winter solstice arrives in a few hours and we will begin to have more daylight. (2) Rejoice! Things may be pretty awful, but we always have this annual time to at least imagine what love and peace will look like when we decide to practice them. Oh, and (3) Thank you for enriching my life with the creative things you do in the blogosphere.

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