Thanksgiving will soon be here and today is the day I shop for the food. My wonderful daughter-in-law will make a lot. I am assigned turkey with stuffing and dessert. I have no choice in this matter as my family loves and demands the two desserts I will be making….real New York cheesecake and pumpkin chiffon pie. They love these and beg for them each year.
This is one time I enjoy cooking. I have someone to cook for and I am cooking my favorite things. As usual, there will be fun and interesting conversation. My son and granddaughter love to push each other’s buttons. A heated discussion will be verboten at my table. I want to enjoy my dinner and not get stomach upset so I will warn the two ahead of time. They really love each other but have fun making each other angry and this is not the time for that. “Grandmother” me doesn’t like it at a meal.
No matter what holidays there are always interactions among family members. Some are fun and some are not so fun. In my family in have found that setting down ground rules before hand can make the day fun and pleasant. Any disagreements get left at the door. I have sent a text to the two combatants requesting peace.
It is not always possible to do this but if you can it will help the day be truly a thankful one. I hope everyone is finding some way to help those who have no family or friends to be with. Our church offers a meal with everyone bringing something to share. The people who go love this and are excited about it each year.
Hope your holidays is joyous and thankful!
This week I have been sad. I don’t know if it was my birthday and getting older or the autumn and the darkness. It could be all of the above. It has brought to mind some things that I used to do and don’t any more.
I used to bake for Christmas. I made lots of sweets for everyone. I no longer have someone to bake for. The two of us have no desire to eat lots of Christmas sweets. My grandchildren are grown up (all except one who is in his teens) and not around to bake for or with. It was fun to make treats with my children and grandchildren.
For some reason I stopped sending Christmas cards. Our years of moving around made me lose track of many people. Our life is different now and it seems that there are many people who don’t send cards. In a way that is a regret. It was a job to get them done but a wonderful way to keep in touch.
I don’t have as much money to spend on gifts and so I try to be resourceful and creative in the things I find. This has been a plus as it has helped me to spend time on what really matters. It also reminds me of those who have nothing.
Again, life changes and we have to experience each phase. We can’t opt out if we plan to live on. Getting older can present challenges but so do other phases of life. To really live we have to seize each moment and know it will not come again.
Even though I have been sad sometimes sad can be a season of remembrance. It can be a time when we think about how different things are and plan to choose to live this moment. In this season of darkening skies and leaves falling life continues. Winter will follow and spring and on and on. The world is turning, time goes forward and I am still here to see it.
Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. R. Buckminster Fuller
Science is a wonderful thing. Conversely science is an awful thing. As people find out new things about how everything works there are some wonderful discoveries. We are learning more about DNA, RNA, genes and what their impact is on our lives. We are heading toward curing some terrible diseases. This is a wonderful thing. If we use this information to increase wellness and reduce pain and suffering that will be good.
However, is some ways we have opened Pandora’s box. The Nazi’s wanted to “purify” the race and make selections for genetic manipulation. There are people who would like to do that now. Imagine if a like-minded group rose up and used the information we have currently to change the people of the world to suit them. We have the knowledge available. Science can run amok.
Everyone in the world is not working from the same moral code. There is great diversity among cultures. Those of us in the western world have (hopefully) been exposed to a culture that values human life. I’m not so sure we have conquered honoring diversity. The thought of some group deciding to make all genetic choices for us is frightening.
Science is a wonderful thing but it must be monitored to keep it within moral limits. If we are not careful we will find ourselves with no say in the matter.
When we look around us we see so many people suffering. I recently saw a map marked with all the mass shootings in the US in 2018 (so far). There were red dots showing up everywhere. The disturbing part for me is that we don’t hear about this sort of violence elsewhere. It may be there but I don’t remember hearing about it.
The violence we see every day leaves behind it a path of suffering. The people who died no longer suffer but those left behind do. Life changed for them in a second and will never be the same.
As I think about all of this I grieve for those remaining. Most of the time they have no real answers. The person they loved went to school or a party or a concert and suddenly they were in the midst of terror.
Thankfully I have not experienced losing someone I love to violence but in this climate we never know. The country seems to be falling apart from the inside. Abraham Lincoln said that as a country we would survive unless we self-destructed. It seems to be coming true.
I am only one person but I am one. I can only do so much but I can do something. If each “one” would chose to live a life of love and compassion we could change things one person at a time.
We must each be the “one.”
I have never considered myself a feminist. At least not in the sense of Gloria Steinham (sp?) and others of that era. My father always told me that I could do anything if I worked at it. When I was younger it never occurred to me that there were people who felt that women should not leave the roles of the past. I spent 20 years as an Army Wife and never encountered that kind of prejudice there. I suppose I was out of the ordinary world. It was a shock to me when we left that world to discover (sorry, but especially men) who saw me out of my place… people who tried to fit me into the box they envisioned. Someone once asked my husband if he couldn’t keep his wife in her place. He replied he had spent all his time encouraging me. This was in the 1970’s.
The women’s movement in the 60’s denigrated the role that I was living. I resented that. I never felt my role as wife and mother was lacking. I read widely, volunteered in social work and other areas and had a full and rewarding life. It made sense to me that women who were in the work world should receive proper compensation on an equal footing with men. I knew the inequalities should be removed but I expected there to be room for each of us to find our own path and fulfill ourselves as we saw fit. That was not the plan of most of the early feminists.
Later my own role changed as my children grew and I chose to become a nurse. (still a feminine role but also changing.) I had a full and enriching career of more than 30 years.
It is gratifying to see things are better in some ways. I think that women who raise children have more respect than in the 60’s. The downside of this change is that it has played a role in changing families drastically. Most children now grow up with both parents working. This is hard for the whole family. Everyone is juggling time spent in different roles. Changes in the economic climate have made this the norm.
The other side of this is the role of men. It has been a difficult adjustment for men whose roles have also changed. With children growing up in the 60’s and 70’s it seemed as if boys were showing signs of pressure in school. They were not automatically assumed to be the best at math and science. The competition with girls redefined their roles. More girls were now heading for careers in what was male dominated areas. Boys in high school and college seemed to be struggling more than in the past.
The whole era was a shake up of culture and a difficult time for both sexes. I can see some of that leveling out. There are still problems but being able to look at things from my viewpoint I can see positive changes. We will continue to struggle with changing mindsets and coming to terms with injustices but things are better. Some of that will disappear as generations change. Let’s hope we keep moving toward the good things and people are free to choose their roles without bias.
True union . . . doesn’t turn its respective participants into a blob, a drop dissolving into the ocean. Rather, it presses them mightily to become more and more themselves: to discover, trust, and fully inhabit their own depths. As these depths open, so does their capacity to love, to give-and-receive of themselves.—-Cynthia Bourgeault from the thoughts of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Real love, wants more than anything, for us to be truly ourselves. If the person we are with only want to mold us into someone else then we had best back away.
In my life I have known people who have created themselves to mesh perfectly with another person. They have submerged themselves and little of the true person is visible. Their ache for love is so great that they will do anything to get it. They will even betray themselves. The sad part is that they are not being loved for themselves but for the person they created.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet
Sometimes we want so much to be loved that we are willing to give up ourselves. This may seem ok for a while but eventually we will feel the strain of it. and end up know that is it not the right thing.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love. Kahlil Gibran
In any relationship we must love ourselves. We have to be able to accept who we are with all our warts and scars. Then with that love we can reach out to another person.
I have been thinking about what bits of wisdom I want to pass on. Can I say anything that will matter to you? Will you be willing to listen? Years of life do teach us things that we wish we had know earlier. These thoughts are simple ones.
Enjoy what you have and not what you don’t have.
It is so easy to focus on the things we want. They may not even be things we need but just things we think we should have. If we have a place to call home a bed to sleep in and enough to eat we have enough. Don’t struggle to keep up with other people. They don’ really matter. Instead be grateful every day for your life and health. If you have people in your life that you love and who love you ….you are blessed. Thank God every day for them. Show them that you appreciate them. Life is short and they may be gone before you can blink an eye.
Appreciate the moment
Every moment is precious. Even the ones that aren’t so good. Don’t just let them slip by but store them away in your memory. They won’t come again. Remember we only have NOW. Tomorrow is a day away and yesterday is gone.
Find the good in everything
Watch the movie Pollyanna and absorb her philosophy. We can find good even in the bad things. Some good can always be found. Don’t spend time bemoaning the negative. It just makes you miserable and who wants that. If you must express your sorrow, frustration or anger give yourself 24 hours for a “pity party”and then move on. You earned some time to fuss about your fate but after that get up and go on. Just being alive is a gift so appreciate it.
Don’t regret what you can’t fix.
If you did something that you are sorry for do what you can to fix it and then let it go. To hang on to guilt does nothing to help. Some things in life just can’t be fixed. Remember that. The only thing you will do is to frustrate yourself. Let it go.
Get a decent meal and a good night’s sleep.
Some food in your stomach and some sleep to rest your mind can change your attitude and your approach to things. Things tend to look different in the daylight. Worrying doesn’t help so have a good night and be ready to tackle the next day. Remember, all things pass….for good or ill. Perspective is everything.
Love, your grandmother