I Don’t Know

I had another post in mind to write today and it was even a little bit funny.

And then a bit of real life entered my little world and this post is in response to that reality.

I don’t know.

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.

I don’t know why some young men die and some don’t.

I don’t know why someone who is doing a lot to make the world a better place gets cancer.

I don’t know why some people work so hard and can’t make ends meet.

I don’t know why life isn’t fair.

I don’t know what to say when the people in my life are hurting and struggling with difficult situations.

I don’t know how to make it better or explain it or make the pain go away.

I’d like to think that there is some master plan and that all the pieces work together in a way that would make sense if I could see the “big picture”.

But, sometimes I think that if I had a bird’s eye view of the world, I would  see a million card tables covered in unfinished jigsaw puzzles because the dog ate some of the pieces.

That maybe it doesn’t make any sense at all and it just is.

I don’t have any words that make any of it any better.

Sometimes it just hurts and we cry and we scream and we get mad and we feel guilty…

I pray that my faith is strong enough to keep me upright so that I can support those that I love.

I pray for wisdom to know what to say and when to remain silent.

I pray that I am present for those that feel alone…even when I know that we have to do the hardest things by ourselves.

I pray for hope that when we can’t see the light, we can at least see the faintest twinkle of the stars in the darkness.

And I try to make peace with what I can and cannot do.

And believe that we are not all in this reality alone.

Peace.

Addendum:  So I typed this post and headed off to my cleaning job – not realizing that I had failed to hit “Publish”.

As my daughter and I were driving into town, she did that “magic” thing where music from your phone plays on the car radio.   I don’t pretend to understand most electronics.   The mystery of it all is too much for me.

Anyway, she subscribes to some kind of service that sends you song selections that you might like and you pick and choose what you enjoy.

This song by Sam Smith came on the radio.  I’ll just post the lyrics and you can listen to it somewhere if you are interested…

Pray
I’m young and I’m foolish, I’ve made bad decisions
I block out the news, turn my back on religion
Don’t have no degree, I’m somewhat naive
I’ve made it this far on my own
But lately, that shit ain’t been gettin’ me higher
I lift up my head and the world is on fire
There’s dread in my heart and fear in my bones
And I just don’t know what to say
Maybe I’ll pray, pray
Maybe I’ll pray
I have never believed in you, no
But I’m gonna pray
You won’t find me in church (no) reading the Bible (no)
I am still here and I’m still your disciple
I’m down on my knees, I’m beggin’ you, please
I’m broken, alone, and afraid
I’m not a saint, I’m more of a sinner
I don’t wanna lose, but I fear for the winners
When I try to explain, the words run away
That’s why I am stood here today
And I’m gonna pray (Lord), pray (Lord), maybe I’ll pray
Pray for a glimmer of hope
Maybe I’ll pray (Lord), pray (Lord), maybe I’ll pray
I’ve never believed in you, no, but I’m gonna
Won’t you call me?
Can we have a one-to-one, please?
Let’s talk about freedom
Everyone prays in the end
Everyone prays in the end
Won’t you call me?
Can we have a one-to-one, please?
Let’s talk about freedom
Everyone prays in the end
Everyone prays in the end
Oh, and I’m gonna pray, I’m gonna pray, I’m gonna pray
Pray for a glimmer of hope
Maybe I’ll pray, pray, maybe I’ll pray
I’ve never believed in you, no, but I’m gonna pray
Songwriters: James John Napier / Jose Angel Velazquez / Larrance Levar Dopson / Samuel Frederick Smith / Timothy Z. Mosley
Pray lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Clay Music Corporation
I turned to her and asked if she had read what I had written on the blog and picked out this song for me.
She said no.
Maybe it’s a coincidence?
Or maybe not…

 

 

Where is the Middle?

Upon the occasion of my most recent birthday (the one where I turned 55), I did a little bit of computation.

Unless modern medicine and science steps up it’s game, I’m not middle-aged anymore. Technically, I wasn’t middle-aged last year either, but I don’t remember thinking much about it.  I suppose that I might have thought about it and forgotten.  That’s entirely possible, seeing as how I’m closer to old age than middle age at this point.

Anyhow, living to be 110 year of age seems highly unlikely given my genetic inheritance.  I know that it’s not all about nature – nurture and environment play a role also.  Let’s evaluate that for a bit, shall we…

I’m a child of the sixties.  You know, the generation that ate margerine instead of butter because it was so good for you. And, what do you mean that potatoes aren’t a vegetable?  Okay, we’ll have salad – iceburg lettuce with Miracle Whip.  Don’t forget those brand-new convenience foods that are making Mom’s life so much easier…Tang, potted meat, boxed mac-n-cheese, jello and canned ravioli.  I’m eating better now as an adult (most of the time) so that probably won’t kill me outright.

The one activity that I am a bit concerned about though is that classic evening activity we all enjoyed in the South…running behind the mosquito fog truck …DDT shower anyone?  Plus I did spend a number of years in the Rio Grande Valley watching the crop-dusters present their show as they sprayed the crops several times a year…

Oh well, all of that is in the past and out of my control.  Other than learning from the past and remembering the good stuff, the past needs to be history.

And worrying about whether I’m going to make it to 110. or 56 for that matter, is pointless.

I have no guarantees.

None of us do.

I have right now.

And I have hope for the future.

What I do with the time is mine to decide…well, not mine totally.  Other folks factor in somewhat…my family and my friends have some say on what happens with my time.  But, the  choice of who I let share my time is mine to make.

Okay, strictly speaking sometimes we lose control over who and what comes into our life for a time.  Bad stuff happens.  Rude people happen.  A moment or more is lost to circumstance.

But the choice is still ours – the choice of how to look at it and how to live in the time we have.

Here’s a story.

I was out with my sister the other day and we were driving along.  I saw an assisted living center with the name “Autumn Leaves”.  I innocently commented that I thought “Autumn Leaves” was a pretty cool name for an assisted living center.

My sister who is 70 years of age and was near death more than once this past month, had another perspective.  About the autumn leaf reference she replied, “Yeah, drying up, falling off of the tree, being raked into a pile, and burned…”

Okay.  Maybe I didn’t think my comment through.  That happens more often than I’d like to admit.

At 55, I was more focusing on the whole life cycle thing.  And that I like autumn leaves.  They’re pretty when they change colors and float about in the wind.  Maybe I was thinking about composting them and enriching the soil for next year’s planting.

At 55, I like to think that I’m still green and on the tree.  I’m busy reaching towards the light providing the tree with nourishment and cleaning the air.

At 55,  I’m not ready to turn brown and fall off the tree yet.

I’ve met very few people in my life who are ready for that…at any age.

So, I’m going to try and quit thinking about my life as having a beginning, a middle, and an end.

There may well be a Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.  That I can’t change…but I can keep having beginnings when I choose and as often as I need to.

I can end things that aren’t positive and beneficial for me when need be.

I can choose to do it all with joy.

And when it’s my time to fall off the tree, I can become the best damn mulch for the future to grow in as a result of the joyful choices that I’ve made.

 

Today Needs a Prayer

I don’t talk a lot about my faith on this blog.  It’s not that I’m embarrassed about what I believe or out of some sense of political correctness. Mainly, it’s because at this point in my life, my faith has become more personal and inward. I think it may be a growth period for me after a long period of dormancy.

In any case, for the most part, I believe political correctness is a load of manure. I do, however, believe in being respectful of others’ beliefs or lack thereof.

But today needs a prayer. Feel free to substitute any vernacular that fits your life: happy vibes, positive energy, smoke signals, loud and raucous profanity, meditation, or the like…you get my meaning, right?

Today needs a prayer for those going through changes. Any change, whether perceived as good or bad, can be traumatic. It may involve a wide range of emotions including, but not limited to grieving, anger or joy. Change is hard for most (if not all) of us.

Today, I pray for those trying their best to find their way in the world. Especially for young adults trying to figure out this thing called “being a grown-up”. Wanting to be free of the constraints of parental control and influence…flapping their wings madly…terrified of all the choices and possibilities…peeking back over their shoulder at the shelter they are leaving behind. Some have a nest they can be welcomed back to if the need should arise, but so many don’t have that option, if indeed they ever did. My prayer is that they find a safe place to rest when their wings are tired. A soft place to rest their head when the journey is too hard. A springboard to launch from on the next leg of their journey.  Growing up is hard and should not be done alone. I pray that they have community with friends and family or friends that are family.

Today, I pray for parents whose children are referenced in the above paragraph. A prayer for patience and tolerance and forgiveness…that they remember their transition and act wisely. That they open the door for their children and hug them as the leave. Most importantly, that they leave that door open and are ready to give another hug when their child returns…either triumphantly in success or despairingly in failure.

Today, I pray for those experiencing loss. Especially for those who have lost a parent. Even as an adult this loss is hard. You may have achieved independence and become the “grown-up, but the child within is always there. You are an orphan. The person who has always been there is no longer there. You can no longer peek back over your shoulder at that shelter you so desperately fled years ago. We never lose the need for that anchor.

Today, I pray for those dealing with serious illness and aging. For those coping with the changes that are occurring as their body no longer performs for them as they have become accustomed. For loss of independence and freedom. For endless hours in waiting rooms and treatment rooms and recliners trying to rest and heal. For the uncertainty and loss that is a constant part of this new life they are living.

Today, I pray for the caretakers…the folks who are sheltering the ones in need, making casseroles, fetching glasses of water, running errands, and standing ready for whatever…

Today, I’m rearranging things to welcome a loved one to our home, attending a funeral, checking in on a family member, and planning a piece of prayerful art work for a friend.

Amen.

Daisy

Our dog, Daisy, died yesterday.

She was 19ish, blind, deaf, and well-advanced into dementia so death was not unwelcome or unexpected,  but still…

I never got the attraction of dogs until we found each other.  She was a rescue basset and had been found abandoned in a downtown park.  She was probably confined in a small kennel most of her life in order to birth litter after litter of puppies.  Then dumped when she was too old to be profitable.

She introduced herself to me by shuffling up to me and plopping her considerable weight on my feet, rolling over and presenting her belly for rubbing.  She had a large whooping bark whenever she felt the need to call attention to herself.   She was happy in the here and now.

As her dementia worsened and she became incontinent, irritable and disoriented, she taught me about love.  The need to love the sometimes unlovable.  To love her for what she had brought into my life. To see past the behavior and to love the whole being…to love Daisy in the here and now.   To love her because she is a living being that is deserving of love simply because…not for what I might get out of it, but for what she needed from me.  Love is rarely 50-50.  If I’m keeping score in a relationship, it’s not love.

Once, I might have said, “She’s just a dog.”

But, now I say goodbye to one of my greatest teachers.  I hope I can remember the lessons learned and use them well.photo 1 (4)