Today I was knitting a top for my adult granddaughter. The yarn I’m using is very tricky to work with and gets tangled up easily. It did! I realized that I had done something wrong and had to back up several rows. No way did that work. The yarn became so tangled that I ended up cutting it and pulling it all out. Now I will start over. To say that I was frustrated is an understatement.
I thought about the saying “oh what a tangled web we weave.” I didn’t practise to deceive anyone but I sure wove a tangled web and had to fight my way out.
We can get ourselves into messes from time to time and some of them are more complicated to get out of than others. Sometimes we volunteer to do something and discover that it not only it too much but also that we don’t like it. The getting out gracefully may not be possible.
When I got married 57 years ago the only advice that my mother gave me was “start out the way you intend to go on.” I asked her exactly what she meant and she said: “if you plan on getting up at 4 am every morning to fix breakfast just be aware that it will set the pattern for the rest of your marriage.” I have found this advice to fit so many situations. Take a good look at anything you are getting into and see if you want it in your life before you are stuck with it.
There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.
There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.
The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.
I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.
Yesterday I didn’t write which is unusual for me. I spent the afternoon with my friend while someone came to get a history on her husband and help to evaluate her husbands mental status. He has had such a devastatingly physical journey that it has taken its toll. It took all afternoon to get it all down on paper.
She wanted me there because I have been on a good bit of this journey with her and could help with the history. Just having someone write it all down made me realize what an extensive and harrowing time it has been.
I feel so humbled by how she has weathered this whole scenario and my heart aches for all she has been through with him. I don’t think anyone can appreciate the level of exhaustion and stress seen when a long illness puts their partner into the caregiving role.
It is so important for caregivers to have time away from the situation. Without it their physical and mental status is at risk. It is a blessing when help can be afforded but in some cases that is not possible.
Most people just keep going and hate to ask for help. Frequently there are friends, neighbors, church members or others who would be willing to sit for a while with the ill person. When they do it is important for the caregiver to do something for themselves…..meet friends for lunch, go outdoors away from home, or whatever rejuvenates them. Too often they take that time for errands and tasks that must be done. This may be necessary but even a short while doing something they love will help.
If you know someone who is a caregiver take the time to offer help. Be specific. Tell them you can sit for them or run errands or, if they can, take them out. Caregivers need all the help we can give. It is so easy to continue with our own agenda but remember those who have no time for themselves.
I have long loved the Prayer of St. Francis. If we could all learn to live this way the world would be a much better place. Take these words to heart.
Today part of our day was attending a funeral. The deceased was in his late eighties and an amazing man. He was a former Air Force Officer was extremely active in supporting the community. He was dearly loved by family and friends and will be deeply missed. The good news is that he lived a full and fruitful life.
After just having another great grandson born at the end of June I am again thinking about the connection of birth and death. Someone is always coming and someone is always going. It’s almost as if they are trading places. I guess that sounds like reincarnation but that is not exactly what I am thinking. To quote The Lion King it is the “Circle of Life.”
New life is amazing. It seems to tell us that something is going right. It is too bad that the births are increasing the population beyond our planet’s ability to cope. We need to be more conscious of our place in the scheme of things. I hope that somehow the whole world’s population will begin to understand.
It is a funny thing about love. We really can’t experience the fullness of it unless we are open to it. Being open, however, puts us at risk of being hurt. That is the trade off.
Sometimes we choose to love someone and are hurt by that person. It happens to everyone. Sitting back in fear gets us nowhere. I know people who have spent their lives alone because they couldn’t accept the uncertainty. Love is rarely certain.
We take a risk when we choose to love. I have taken that risk more that once and been hurt. I also took that risk 56 years ago when I married my husband. That risk paid off. Not all of them do.
For me, a life without love is a barren life. Yes, I have been hurt by relationships. Sometimes even those we think of as friends can hurt us terribly. It takes time to know a person well and the person we see at the beginning may be wearing a mask. We may not find out until later what is underneath.
I know someone who was married for years only to discover the person she loved was a criminal. We can be fooled.
Is it worth it? Yes, yes and yes! If the love is lost we will experience pain. We learn from the pain and become someone who has more depth. If it lasts it brings joy.
Don’t stay away from love out of fear. It is one of the most fruitful things in life. You can’t afford to not live fully!
Today I went back and read some of my original posts. I had a plan for this journey. I wanted to find a way to accept what comes each day and to learn new ways of coping. In some things I have done well in others not so much.
I have managed to spend more time in the “now.” I am more aware of each day than I have ever been. I have made daily prayer a habit. I have always prayed in erratic moments but now I also pray intentionally at the end of each day. This has worked for me and allows me to explore the events of the day in a different way. It is a time for contemplation.
I have not done as well with meditation. I can’t seem to get into a pattern or keep to any kind of a schedule. My past experiences taught me that meditation works best when it is practised consistently. This is something I want to improve.
Life is all about changing ourselves to better manage our place in the world. The world is not going to change for us. We are the only ones in our control. We have to continually work to understand how we react to what happens in our lives.
It is so easy to say that I know what to do and so hard to actually do it. I will continue to fight the struggle that some things are for me and work to truly immerse myself in changing. The struggle will remain until I am no longer on this earth but that is being alive. There are always challenges but we can move forward each day.
I have learned much in my 78 years. Life has not ever been perfect and usually not at all what I expected but it has been full with everything from grief to joy. I am so grateful that I can look back and see the times I was tested and grew. I realize that my empathy for others and desire to help comes from those testing experiences.
It is something that I have said often but here it is again. Don’t regret those times of trial. It is in the fire that the pottery is formed. You have come out of the fire made more beautiful and more compassionate.
Remember that and use that experience to help others. I talked with someone today about how encouraging and full of empathy are the people whose blogs I read and those who read mine. We are a community.
This is my last day with my daughter and her family. It has been a wonderful visit and I look forward to being with them again soon. Each of my children’s families are different in personality and the things they enjoy doing. That is as it should be and I would like to think it means that I allowed each of them to be themselves.
It has been cool since I have been here unusual for Austin but a great break for me. I will now return to warm weather and humidity. My mind is beginning its shift to what is ahead and the things I need to do this week. This has been a wonderful break. I didn’t have to plan anything or think about anything in particular.
We all need down time. It refreshes us and allows us to go back to our routine with renewed enthusiasm. This time out has been a blessing. I hope that each of you can find time in your lives to back away and just vegetate.
I read a blog today that was an interesting discussion. There was much back and forth about life and death. It was quite technical. At some point a meaningful life was mentioned and it seemed to me to most participants completely let that drop for more esoteric thoughts.
I am totally concerned about life having meaning. At this time in my life I have no doubts that mine does. This may be hubris on my part but over the years I can see where something that I did or said changed something or someone. I have had people that I don’t even remember who they are come up and say that I changed their life. I can’t remember what I said or did but that doesn’t matter. Somehow, at the time, I was blessed with the right thing to say. Does this mean that I am special? No way. I was just a catalyst…a stop on the road.
For me, these are the things that make life meaningful. Was I able to help someone? Was I in the right place at the right time? Did the right things come to me out of the blue? Yes! It was not me. It was God, or a higher power, or coincidence. Whatever works for you. But this is what helps me to understand how our lives are meaningful.
Loving, giving and sharing our stories and our pains helps others along the path. Because of this I can know that even when I messed up my life has had meaning. I plan to keep on loving and giving until the day I die.