So much has happened in the last few weeks that I have been unable to compose any posts. My mind has been unable to settle enough. After the week of absorbing my daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis Austin was hit by a winter storm that not only shut down power but decimated the city’s ability to provide water. My daughter’s home had power the whole time but still has no water. We are tired, thirsty and smelly. On Wednesday we moved from our apartment that had no power and only moments after getting my husband settled he died from what we believe was a heart attack. We are overwhelmed. This morning I read this poem in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Prayers from Prison” and found great solace from the words of the last two verses of the poem “Joy and Sorrow.” I place them here for your reflection. I know I will read them often.
“What then is Joy? What then is Sorrow? Time alone can decide between them, when the immediate poignant happening lengthens out to continuous wearisome suffering; when the labored creeping moments of daylight slowly uncover the fullness of our disaster Sorrow’s unmistakable features. Then do most of our kind sated, if only by the monotony of unrelieved unhappiness, turn away from the drama, disillusioned, uncompassionate.
o ye mothers, and loved ones-then, ah, then comes your hour, the hour for true devotion. Then your hour comes, ye friends and brothers! Loyal hearts can change the face of Sorrow, softly encircle it with love’s most gentle unearthly radiance.”
“I have found the paradox. That if you love until it hurts there can be no more hurt. Only more love.” Mother Theresa
To love is a risk. We open ourselves to being hurt. It is scary. Most or us have been hurt at some time and we remember the experience. However, the alternative is to not take the chance and miss out on some of the most wonderful thing in our lives. The truth is that love and loss are part of life. None of us lives forever. Loss is inevitable whether from a death or someone leaving us. Relationships are tricky things and hurts are part of how we learn. The more love we give away the more love we have. Love doesn’t decrease but grows the more we share it.
Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Sharing love is so important that it can’t afford to be missed.
I have been reading the most amazing book. It is The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. She is a psychologist and survivor of Auschwitz. For part of the book she tells her story as a lead in to the things she has learned since and how our choices frame our lives. She begins with this statement: “It took me many decades to discover that I could come at my life with a different question. Not: Why did I live? But: What is mine to do with the life I have been given?”
This is a question that I have struggled with for a long time. At 80 years of age I am not sure that I have the answers yet but I have made progress. Over the years I have realized that most of my purpose is to do this as much as I am able to help others. There are so many who have never had a chance to experience understanding and acceptance which for me are part of loving. Being present for others in a real way is important to me. Covid has made this difficult and it has been hard on me not to be physically present.
I can’t think of anything more important than to be there…present, open and accepting when needed. I wish that everyone could see love and caring as an answer to so many issues infecting our lives. Spread love, hope, kindness and acceptance. It could change everything.
There are some time when I am excited about being able to decorate with a whole new style and then some times when I know that I will miss some things. In reality, family is what matter the most and I know that we will find our lives simpler, easier and happier.
This is Tillie. Tillie knows how to relax. She is trying to teach me the same thing. Look at her. Don’t you wish you could rest like that…not a worry in the world. But that is now. Tillie is a rescue. We don’t know what happened to her before but we do know how she is now. She has shaken the past away and now rests without fear. She is calm and is still trying to teach me that I can relax and the world will continue.
I want to write about my husband. He graduated from West Point in 1962. It was shortly after that there was war in Viet Nam. I won’t comment on that war except to talk about my husband.
He went there for the first time about 1967. At that time he was a Captain and was assigned to be a company commander. To this day he talks little about his time there other than the moments that were amusing in some way or good stories to tell. He has never talked about the other side. Thankfully he did not have PTSD although I’m sure there were times when all that he experienced he felt deeply. He did come home with malaria and still has attacks of it to this day.
He has never talked with his children or grandchildren about those days. As we prepare to move things have been pulled out of closets and they discovered that their father has 5 bronze stars for valor. To read the commendations fills me with pride and love.
When he returned from his first posting I received a letter from the men in his company sending us money they collected for us to go out to dinner. The letter said that he was the reason they were still alive and that he was the best company commander they had ever seen. He deserved that and it meant more than any other accolade.
He did have to go back for a second time and worked with the The Montagnard people who are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He loved these people and brought home some of the weaving the women did. This is a bracelet much like the one I have.
They were given as a symbol of respect and friendship. He was made a member of the group he worked with which required him to drink their version of an alcoholic beverage which he said he barely got down. He respected them greatly.
He has always followed the traits learned at West Point of Duty, Honor, Country and always will. He expects people to behave with integrity and be truthful. The many times he is disappointed he accepts the ways of the world and moves on.
I am proud of his life and he will continue following those things he learned at West Point for the rest of his life.
Being very close to 80 and having spent 58 years with my husband has somehow reminded me of the writings of Kahlil Jibran. His discourse on how to live together is the way I feel that my husband and I have been through the years. I love this from The Prophet.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
In the last week a dear dear person I knew died. Her life was everything we are called to be. She had a loving family and loved and cared for them every day of her life. She loved God and often wrote wonderful posts about his love and his care for her. She never lost this nearness to God even in the darkest of times.
Her name was Elaine. I first met Elaine as a Parish Nurse and her health journey would have crushed most of us early on. She was determined to live every moment of her life in spite of all the doctors who couldn’t see her going on for long. She not only went on but went on with joy. She traveled, boated, spent time with family and friends. She shared her joy with everyone and each day was one to be explored and lived. She lived! Each and every day she lived!
Now she is gone but never forgotten. Her example will remain with all of those who knew her and spur us on to live fully every moment. She has transitioned to be with the God she loved and who she knew with her whole being loved her. While those of us here are saying goodbye others are welcoming her home. Good journey Elaine.
Today my son and daughter-in-law came over to help. She cleaned the bathroom like it had never been cleaned. WOW it is so amazing. My son mowed the lawn (which I had cut too long) edged and blew off the porches and walks.
This is so incredible and wonderful of them. They both work extremely long and difficult hours and have little spare time. I am so grateful for them taking their time to do this. How wonderful to have family and I love them so much.
It is a blessing to have family that cares. I know that all families have the kind of relationships that we have and I am so grateful. Many suffer from bad family relationships or abusive childhoods. Life is not great for everyone. I hope that they are able to find new friends who become family for them.
Friendships and family must be nurtured to grow. You can’t let the grass grow between you and your loved ones.. It doesn’t matter if you live next door or miles apart connections matter. Take the time to call, write, email, text, whatever. It pays off in the long run.
Last night while watching the movie “Midway” with my husband (who loves old movies) I took a photo of one of our bassets (Miss Tillie). Don’t you wish you could relax like that? That is true comfort. She knows how to lay down and chill no matter what is going on. She knows this staying home is the best of worlds for her.
If you were reincarnated wouldn’t it be wonderful to come back as a beloved dog belonging to a loving family? I would