Sunday, March 1, 2015

50 Shades of Grey?...that's not what I saw

I didn't read the 50 Shades trilogy,
nor watch the movie.

I just simply won't.

HOWEVER

This is what I read...
what I saw...

My phone trilled it's "cell phonic" noise.

Answering,
I heard his quiet,
strong,
matter of fact voice...

"She's gone," he said,
"but come over.
We still need you here."

So there I stood,
in the threshold
of her room,
their room,
sensing her presence,
lingering.

And I had every right to be there,
but it all seemed to precious
and sacred...
and I didn't want to disturb
that aura,
that sense of Divine passage
as I reflected on our last time together,
our words,
my last look back,
her weak hand held up
in goodbye.
I read that.
I saw that,
as life just hurried on past,
brushing and bustling on past.

Her bed was crisply made.
The items necessary for her care
were already gone.

But her presence lingered,
it lingered
in notes from grandchildren
taped to the mirror,
and the Guidepost magazine
laying on the bedside table
and photos of ones she loved
placed around the room.
The "grand dog" must have sensed
the emotion,
the newness of change,
because he stood beside me,
his head hovering about my knee cap
and he licked my finger tips,
with his soft little tongue,
like the first gentle waves
of an in-coming tide.

As I stood there,
it felt as though I was
watching a sunset fade from view.
I pondered the moments
that had brought them to this place,
well and me too,
for that matter.

Across the years as her strength failed,
I was one of the ones blessed
to be called in to help.
And I watched
and learned
as she hosted family gatherings
and parties
and games with friends
and Easter egg hunts
and huge Thanksgiving dinners
all from the confines
of a motorized chair.

She was mighty,
and humorous,
and caring,
and interested in others...
so many others...
and she made you feel like
 YOU
were her best friend.

Bff for life.

I saw her do more
from her motorized chair
than some people
do in many many years...
maybe even a life time.

She read this blog.
She was anxious for
a new story to post.
She would comment to me
and let me know
what she thought
about what I wrote.


The reason I make these
short centered phrases
in the format
of my blog...
is because she
always
always
told me she loved visiting here.
And I found out
this format
made it easier for her
to read,
to see on the screen.

On my screen
to the far right,
right now,
that is her
beautiful
smiling face
leading the list
of the group
who like this blog.
I don't know
if your screen shows it
that way,
but I love it that mine does.

And he,
he is the one,
who told me to write,
to write somewhere...
besides this blog...
and I took it to heart
because he is wise.
And they loved my family,
from the time we met in 1999,
and treated us like their own.

But there were times,
no matter who was there to help her,
she as his bride for 62 years,
she only wanted him.
Just him...to help
to lift her,
to turn her,
to say just the right things to her...
or know when to walk away..
and let her be,
let her sleep.

And he was strong,
stronger than strong,
and caring,
and diligent,
and methodical,
and humorous,

OH how they could laugh...

And I was blessed
for just a while
to read,
to see,
this dance,
this dance of life,
as the steady beat,
of life
and love
slowed to a waltz,
and then a slow waltz,
like the tines in a music box,
s.l.o.w.l.y.
p.l.i.n.g.i.n.g.
the last notes
of a true love song.

And on Valentine's day,
when others were thronging
to see 50 Shades...

...while the near zero temps
blew snow in strong
sideways gusts...
I witnessed,
a dedicated husband
stand at the head of his wife...
and express his thanks
for her love and faithfulness,
and say,
"Goodbye for now,
because I will see you later. "

Yes absolutely,
that's what I saw on Valentine's day.
And I'm stronger.
I'm a better person,
because that is what I saw.

I read.
I saw.
I witnessed love
in sickness and health.

Mrs. Mary...forever in my heart.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Wait, What? Paralyzed?

We used to sit on the porch
 and have "picnics" as impromptu
 as a summer thunderstorm. 
milk
potato chips
popcorn
carrots
just whatever we had
we rushed through the kitchen 
opening cabinet doors
 and
 pulling drawers
scrambling for the 
"picnic food"
as though we were dodging the
first large drops of rain.
Suddenly,
it was all
 plopped with a thunder clap
into the over sized basket,
then
spread on the quilt
and
scattered 
on the floor
like dice in a fast game 
of 
"something or the other"
It wasn't 4th of July
but
just an ordinary
regular day
bees-buzzing-by-the-window-sill-kind-of-day.
Holidays weren't necessary,
no not at all.

Not much planning was involved.
The thought kind of dropped into
our head
like a spider sliding down
on a single line of web
from the ceiling,
slooowwwly
sloowly,
then the picnic thought touched our brain
and
it was assembled quickly
and eaten quickly
as though if not 
scarfed down in haste,
the moment would pass...
un-lived.
But the memories,
yes,
 the memories linger.

Memories
stir longing.
longing for home
longing for the way things used to be
longing for Spring
longing for children
longing for love
longing for the past 
longing for food
longing for sleep
longing for peace
longing for hope
longing for things just out of reach.

Longings can
 paralyze 
hold you back
take your breath away
render you as immobile as
 Christopher Reeve
after his horse riding accident,
frozen,
set in stone,
a pillar of salt...
just like Lot's wife
who dared to look back,
to
~long~.

Yes, longing can truly do that.

Yes, 
longing can
hinder you 
cause you to stumble
to fall,
but
always
always
GET UP.
Move forward
reach out
find someone to help
to hug
to speak words of comfort 
or life.


You never know who may be hanging...
on longings...
hanging on longings
like it is their last thread, 
a very fine and delicate thread
 stretching to you 
tugging for hope.

You just never really know,
but your lowest of lows,
your deepest and darkest sorrow,
could possibly be the very door
that opens to the fulfillment of your destiny.

Are you paralyzed?
Are you a pillar of stone,
a statue of salt?
I refuse to be.

I admit it.
I am truly filled with longing.

My longings are different 
than your longings
most likely,
but they won't define me.
And they don't need to define you
either! 
I refuse to let them paralyze me,
to hold me back.
I purpose for my longings 
to 
reveal the door of my next step
that leads to fulfilling my destiny.

What are your longings.
Is something paralyzing you?
Defining you? 



Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Size and Shape of Having Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

..
Have you sung it?
Or heard it?
You know
the Christmas song
that tells you
all about letting your heart be light
and letting the yuletide glow
and telling you from now on
your troubles will be
MILES AWAY,
as in olden days,
happy golden days?
It is all so
"Norman Rockwellish"
and
"Thomas Kincaidish"
and our hearts long for
merry
and bright
and joy
and perfect holiday meals
and parties
and family gatherings
and kissing under the mistletoe
and romantic sleigh rides.
When in reality,
there are bills to pay
and relationships to mend
and doctor visits
and anxiety
and fear
and pain
and grief
and loneliness
in the midst of a crowd
and tears
amidst laughter
and false smiles.

This morning
as the choir sang
I saw her
(I leaned over and told Philip,
"I see Melody singing this.")

in my mind
and in my heart,
there she stood
beautiful red hair
purposeful countenance...
and I felt memories
pool in the corners of my eyes
and 
slip from underneath my eyelids
and slide down my cheeks
and drip from my face.
I could hear her voice
and in another scene,
in my mind,
I saw her family standing
on the bridge
that exited the stage,
a prop...
there they stood singing.
And my heart broke
as I heard her voice
singing of
"The Spirit of Christmas."
Though, I did feel peaceful
as I contemplated her reality
of knowing true Christmas.
Afterwards,
we ate lunch
and then I sat down
at the piano to play
some Christmas songs.
As my fingers
danced through the notes of
"Have A Holly Jolly Christmas",
I heard the sounds
of 35 or 40 pairs of feet
as we shuffled across
the highly polished gym floor
of
Mountainburg High School gymnasium.
We attempted to quietly
assemble ourselves
on the risers
while Bren Marshell,
the high school choir pianist,
played the introduction to
"Have A Holly Jolly Christmas."
I really did,
in my mind,
I heard the distinct bass notes
just as he played them
and I heard our shuffling,
like we were shuffling
all those years ago,
as in olden days,
happy golden days.
And I wonder why?
Why do I remember
these random things?
And see them?
Why today?
And I think of those
whom I love
and care about...
And there are many
longings unfulfilled
and needs seemingly unmet
and relationships unmended
and grief borne
and sorrows uneased
and peace...
well...peace is surely...
out there somewhere...
and trust is wavering
and faith is ebbing away,

ALL WHILE JUST SIMPLY
TRYING TO HAVE
A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS.

Reality isn't found in
the Norman Rockwell
picture perfect traditions
OR
the Thomas Kincaid
lights all aglow
beaming out,
there's no place like home.

No, unfortunately,
for many
that just isn't reality!

But the good news is...
for the dysfunction
AND
the broken,

for all of us
any size
any shape...

JESUS CAME

the size...
a tiny baby
the shape...
a manger,

JESUS CAME.

Tiny size
Manger shaped...

JESUS
Wonderful Counselor
Prince of Peace
Almighty God
Everlasting Father
Comforter
Healer
Provider
Prince of Peace
Strong Tower
Miraculous Mind Blower
Awesome Game Changer
My Best Friend

And that,
yes
THAT IS
"The size and shape
of
having  yourself a merry little Christmas!"



Monday, December 1, 2014

It Only Takes A Little

The room was shrouded in darkness.

I stumbled,

trying to find

 my way to the light switch 

on the wall across the room.

Pulling my cell phone from my pocket

I searched for the flashlight app 

on my phone screen.

Upon hearing the "squeee"...

from the flashlight turning on, 

the room flooded with light

and I could see!!

It never ceases to amaze me 

how light penetrates darkness.

With just a tiny light 

darkness is pushed away.

It's the same way with vinegar in water.

You see~
a little makes a big difference.


Think about:

Heat in the chill.

A smile toward the sad.

A hug to the lonely.

A forgiving word.

A prayer for the despondent.

Just a little.

Makes a difference.

We don't always know the extent or the impact.

In my Christian tradition, as I celebrate Christmas, 

we have entered the season we call 
Advent.

1.  a
 coming into place, view, or being; arrival:
the advent of the holiday season
.
2.  the coming of Christ into the world.3.  the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, 
observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.
During this season of joy,
 of Advent,
 I ponder:

One tiny Child,a world changer,  
simply by being...being willing.

Am I a world changer?
Do I make a difference?
Am I willing?
Does my light shine?
Does it dispel darkness?

vinegar in water,
heat in the chill,
a smile toward the sad,
a hug to the lonely,
a forgiving word,
a prayer for the despondent

Just a little.
Makes a difference.




Friday, November 7, 2014

In The Silence

Time passes.

Things change.

I got a text the other day 
from our son
 away at the University.

He said, 
"Oh, Okay,
 so what are we gonna do about it then?
 Just take it as it comes?"

I replied, 
"Yes, 
we won't cross that bridge 
till it's in front of us."

And that is the way life is.

Don't you think so too?

This summer and fall,
 especially,
 we have made decisions 
based on the necessity 
of the next half hour.

Whether that is right or wrong, 
I can't particularly say, 
but that is the way it has been.  

It has needed to be that way. 

I've told you before 
how much I appreciate you
 and our conversations here. 

In fact, 
I just absolutely love you.
I really do.
You faithfully read.
On and on 
you read
this.

I know I've been silent.

And once again, 
as I have said before,
it is not because 
I have had nothing to say.

No.No.No.
(shaking my head)

Life has been full
and challenging
and sad
and a lot of ups 
and downs
and laughter
and tears
and joy
and hugs
and sighs
and goodness
and blessings
and blessings
and more blessings.

And in the silence...
much has happened 
and time has passed
and things have changed
and we've learned
and grown more mature,
 hopefully.

So today,
 I thought of all that has transpired
since I wrote here last, 
in August.
And there is so much I can say, 
but I'm not going to right now.
I don't know 
that this is the time 
or place to lay it all out.

Today, 
also, 
I thought about God,
 and His silence in our lives sometimes.
And I felt a glimmer of encouragement 
as I thought 
about all the "stuff" that happens
  in the silence.
In those really quiet times,
Or dark places,
In between the words,
and actions,
and lines 
of life.

And God is.
He is there.
Doing something.
Working His best for our good.

Let that encourage you today.
In the silence.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Other Thoughts On Life and Living...all while riding a roller coaster

 We spent three glorious days
 in the beautiful
 Ozark mountains of Branson, Missouri. 
 Part of that time was spent riding roller coasters.
 When I first step onto a roller coaster
 the anticipation is high for the thrill of the ride.
um...sorta... 
 Can I just say, I DO NOT LIKE roller coasters?
  I do not like them. 
To say I don't like them,
 should not be confused
 with saying
 I'm scared to ride them. 
 I'm not scared.
 I just don't necessarily see
 any sane reason
 to have my hair flying through space
 and my head banging
 and my neck jerking
 and feeling my body be lifted off the seat
 as I plummet head long
 into the next upside down turn. 
However, when my kids want me to ride,
 I ride!
And I tell myself to shut my eyes,
 don't anticipate the turns or falls
and just enjoy the ride,
  feel the exhilaration,
sense the wind on my face,
feel the air pulling my brown curly hair,
 listen to the sounds,
mostly screams,
 and then the laughter
and sighing and more giddy laughter
 as the coaster slides to a quick and abrupt halt.
 In about two minutes and 45 seconds,
 it's all over
 and I step across the barrier to the exit.
I can look back at that point
 and see the five times
 I was hanging upside down,
 the times I was going up
 and coming down,
 and I  may even gasp and say,
 "I did that!"
I can walk through the gift shop
 and get a t-shirt describing
 the thrill of my ride
 on a steel track,
 rising to heights of 155 feet,
 reaching top speeds of 66 mph,
 and dropping down yet again 155 feet,
 all while coiling through Cobra Rolls
 and Full Loops.
  No I'm not scared.
I just don't like the uncertainty,
 the "out of controllness" of it all.
 
At times I've heard people say
 life is like a roller coaster. 
 I've said it too.
Because in the ride of life
we aren't in control.  
Do you agree?
 
When I step off the coaster
 and look back at all I just did
 as I rode that piece of machinery,
 putting my life
 in the trust of the designing engineer
and surveyors
who marked the positions
of the support beams
and  the controller
sitting at the desk,
 and computers
 and chains
 that keep it going, 
I think,
 "what was I doing?'
 
When you stop and think about it,
 life really is like that.
  We can't see the whole track,
 the path of life
 that we will journey. 
 We don't know the heights
 we will climb,
 and the depths
 to which we will drop,
 the upside down helplessness
 and the G force of pain or peril. 
 We don't know
 the times
 we will reach a tip top peak
 and sense the wonder of the view
from way up there. 
 
So I guess,
in reality,
we all just get on,
 with anticipation,
 and know that we just have to trust the Maker,
the Master Designer.
If we could see the whole track
of life
at one time
before we ever got started
or got on
maybe we couldn't endure~
maybe we couldn't
bear
the ride.
 We have to trust our Maker,
 for the whole journey,
not just parts of it,
no matter how bad you or I may want off,
there's no gettin' off. 
 
When my life is done,
 if I am allowed to look back
 and see the twists and turns,
the exhilaration and despair,
 the whole track of life
 that I travelled,
 I know I will say it was all worth it.
I might even sigh and say,
"I did that!" 
 
 "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived"
 -- the things God has prepared for those who love him--
Holy Bible New Testament
1 Corinthians 2:9

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Suppose This Is What You Will Have To Do

When every door is closed,
closed tightly,
and there is not a single window opening,
then I suppose the best thing
you can do
 is patiently wait in the hallway.
 
Are you walking through open doors,
 or waiting in the hallway?

Old Testament

Book of Jeremiah chapter 29 verses 11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
 plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call on me
 and come and pray to me,
 and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me
 and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.