Posts Tagged With: Light

 
 

Light and Dark

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 27, 2015 –

*****

Dear J, J, L and L,

I wish I could dispense amazing tidbits of wisdom and peace in these letters to you.

Although, that’d probably just come off as advice, which I really don’t want these turning into. And I’m not really all that wise, just old. Older.

Think about it. In twenty years a couple of you will practically be my age and I’ll be my mom’s age, give or take few. That ought to blow you away a little.

Here’s the thing. Time doesn’t always equal wisdom.

Time amounts to experience, which some people confuse with wisdom.

Compared to some people’s stable, lived-in-the-same-town-forever lives, I’ve had a bunch of experience. But compared to other lives, I live a sheltered existence. The closest I get to some things comes across a flickering screen. And that’s fine with me. I don’t want those kinds of experiences.

A couple of weeks ago I read this thought that hit me full on in the face with how simply profound it felt.

Don't know who to attribute this wisdom to.

Don’t know who to attribute this wisdom to.

Wish I’d had that a year or two ago. Wish I’d known and believed it twenty years ago. I’m certain I’ll need a reminder of it in the future as well, dang it.

We all need reminders of certain things. This one now serves as my big reminder about who am I, where I’ve been, what I want, what I’d like to overcome. Hopefully this reminder will help me.

Maybe it’ll help you sometime, too.

By the way, you’re each part of the light I learned in. Thanks for that.

***

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” ~ Mark Twain 

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Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Turning Corners and Finding Open Doors

 

Picture from a quote I found on an old calendar.

Picture from a quote I found on an old calendar.

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for open doors.

About a month ago, maybe a little more, I felt life turn a corner. Nearly a tangible sensation, I felt lighter, aimed a different direction, moving forward on more level ground. Where I had been for the past year or so inclined at such a sharp angle I could barely hang on. And then, I felt different.

You see, as I turned that corner and the ground leveled out some, I spotted an open door.  Am I ever grateful for open doors! It’s as if someone let fresh oxygen inside a carbon dioxide filled room. Whoosh!

Hey, I’m even grateful for doors just barely cracked open. That sliver of light showing through can make all the difference to my stumbling around in the dark or making progress.

There’s been some door slamming going on in the world around me over the past year or so. The shock of a slammed door, even an expected one, sets my hackles rising and raises my stress levels, although you’d never know it on the outside, or so I’ve been told. I’m always FINE. (Have you seen the movie “The Italian Job?” They have a different definition of the word FINE: Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional. Yup, I was just FINE.)

So, several doors slamming right around the same time. Closed doors. Opportunities gone. An era over. Life lived small. Seasons ended.

I try not to freak out over the slamming, closing, lost, missing, ended stuff. But I’m an insecure being wrapped up in my attempts at faith and hope but surrounded by these personal storms, getting drenched with a blown out umbrella and no rain jacket.

neurosis. (n -rō’sĭs) A psychological state characterized by excessive anxiety or insecurity without evidence of neurologic or other organic disease, sometimes accompanied by defensive or immature behaviors. This term is no longer used in psychiatric diagnosis.

According the Dictionary.com and current psychiatric reasoning, I’m not neurotic. I just get really anxious and feel insecure about life, occasionally, sometimes, often, almost always. Especially when the doors all close behind me and I’m waiting, watching for, praying about and working at finding an open door. I’ll even take an open window, I can climb through windows.

Lots and lots of light slipped in through chinks in the walls and chinks in my armor.  In fact, there was a skylight blazing a couple of times a week. It hasn’t been all darkness and doom. Joy has happened amid the undercurrent of loss and lost. There’s been help, lots of it. And hope. Mostly, but not always.

I’m not one to pronounce gratitude for those closed doors, though. It’s not in me to do that. I don’t see it as a requirement for Sainthood or for Decent-personhood either. Although I can recognize value after the fact in what I learned stuck behind a door.

A couple of doors opened when I turned that corner a month or two ago for which I’m ever so grateful.

The next time a door starts to creak open, I’m pushing my foot in so it can’t close up. I’m ready for full on, unfiltered sunlight. I like the happiness, the whateverness of something different.

 ~~~~~

“When someone you love says goodbye you can stare long and hard at the door they closed and forget to see all the doors God has open in front of you.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Short Days, Cold Nights

Nothing brings more joy and light into my home than a visit from one of my children. When they bring along their littles and a spouse, even better. The house nearly sings with baby giggles and cries, bubbles over with stories reminisced and glows with the warmth of family relationships rekindled and renewed.

And then all too soon, the vacation time ends. Farewells, hugs, goodbyes all around.

On the very day that lovely family visit draws to a close I feel a bit like a candle blown out, wisps of grey smoke trailing off in the chill morning air. I grasp hold of sweet moments, memories made, review photos snapped, hold close a blanket that snuggled a little one.

Winter light.

Winter light.

But warmth and joy elude me today. It’s like winter sun shining through a screened window. All light and no heat. Odd angles and too much brightness.

photo 3-4 copy 21

Bright but not very warm.

Instead I want to close the blinds and wallow in the shadows for just one day. One day to wish for lost days from years ago. One day to dream of living close to all the birds that have flown. One day to compare the silence to the noise and cherish both, oddly juxtaposed at strange angles.

A glass table adding dimension to the shadow.

A glass table adding dimension to the shadow.

Just for today I’ll mourn all my yesterdays. Tomorrow I’ll be glad again that I’m on this side of it all. I will. I’m certain of it.

At least, I hope so.

Categories: Family, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

It’s The Little Things

A Facebook friend yesterday pointed out something I hadn’t thought of in a long time but which is having a significant effect on me lately.

Small and simple things wield immense amounts of power.

If you doubt that think about the following:

  • photo-20 copy 5A small shard of glass stuck in your foot
  • A sliver in your finger
  • A paper cut
  • Sand in your eye
  • A kidney stone no bigger than a grain of rice
  • A pebble in your shoe
  • A mosquito
  • A single hair in your food
  • A drop of ketchup on a white shirt
  • Spark from a spark plug
  • One single flame on a candle
  • An apple seed
  • A hairline fracture
  • The rudder on a large ship

In “The Hobbit,” Gandalf says, “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” J.R.R. Tolkien knew his stuff didn’t he?

Some of the most powerful aspects of my life are small and simple everyday things.

  • A hug
  • A smile
  • A handshake
  • Thanks expressed
  • photo-18 copy 17A wink
  • A short prayer
  • An apology
  • An offer of help
  • A note of encouragement
  • Laughter
  • A phone call
  • Tears
  • A plate of food
  • A text
  • A loaf of bread
  • An email
  • A shared meal
  • A letter in the mail
  • Condolences
  • A glass of water
  • A cool washcloth
  • Concern
  • Caring
  • Love spoken

It’s amazing how a few small things make the difference between a dark day and a day filled with rays of light breaking through the clouds.

I’m lucky to have so many sources of light willing to shine for me. I hope I can likewise be a small light to others in some small way, every single day.

Categories: Gratitude, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Connect The Light Bulbs

Lately, I’m only partially aware, only half-awake, my eyes shaded to most of what’s going on around me. It’s like part of me in is the room and the other part of me got left somewhere else.

Is it intentional?  No.  It’s probably lack of quality sleep and being off my routine. Or, maybe it’s hormonal. Or not. Maybe I need more chocolate. Or less.  It could be I’m dehydrated most of the time, since I don’t think diet Pepsi and hot chocolate count towards daily water intact.  Or could they?  Maybe I’m lacking a specific mineral in my diet, so I’m taking a vitamin supplement.  Perhaps I need more exercise. (My daughter doesn’t need exercise. She chases an 18 month old energizer-bunny toddler around all day while her med school husband is off slaying dragons.)

I digress.  I digress a lot lately.  That thing you do when you go to get something but can’t remember why you are in the room you’re in, so you walk back to the spot where you had the thought that you needed something in order to help you remember what you were doing?  I do that far too often lately.  Like, hourly. Like, way too much.  Slows me down, ruins my groove.

I sit down with paper and pen in hand to create a menu for the week and from there a grocery list. I come up blank. The connection from point A in my brain to point B in my brain has a short.

English: Closeup of a string of decorative Chr...

Closeup of a string of decorative Christmas lights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually it’s probably more like those strings of Christmas lights my son helped me hang on the house yesterday.  One bulb missing or broken is okay.  The string still manages to stay lit.  Two bulbs out, half the lights won’t come on. Replace the missing or broken bulb and voilà a whole string is working again. It’s a little miracle to me, since I don’t understand electricity.

Now the house looks great and thanks to the stellar design of outside plugs under the eaves and indoor switches, all I need to do is flip a switch and the house is lit up all red and green and cheerful.

I need a “brain on” switch. My brain probably needs a loose bulb snugged into its socket a little tighter.  Or maybe one of my neurons cracked and needs replacing. Maybe a few mental bulbs are out along several different strings.

If only a brain fix were as easy as those lights from yesterday’s stringing exercise.

The energy required to make my brain work more effectively isn’t, unfortunately, something I can plug into with a wire and socket.  It’s something much more elusive than that.

When I let myself be in nature, breathing fresh air, that’s one of my electrical cords connecting me to the energy of the earth, to beauty, to life.  I try to plug into that often, but that’s slipped lately. I’ve been busy!

Magic in a Bookstore

Another power source for my brain is reading, usually.  Although lately, reading has been of the audio type and requires less brain power and perhaps less of the written word is absorbed. But  I don’t know.  I’m rambling now.  Rambling happens often lately too.

Maria

This is someone named Maria.  I don’t look this good in a fedora, or anything else for that matter. (Photo credit: tamara.craiu)

Recently I was in a bookstore as part of a treasure hunt.  Dressed in a fedora, sunglasses and a trench coat, I was to wait until being located by a gaggle of girls, then hand over a clue to each group that found me.  Very few people looked at me oddly, which I found strange, since I’m certain I looked questionable.  The best part of this was having an entire hour to peruse bookshelves filled with newly minted books. It was nirvana, bliss, heaven and grace all packed into one hour.

When my assignment was over, I ended up buying a book.

It was a real book, not an audio one. Hard cover, with a dust jacket.  I took it home and read it that night.  Yes, I concentrated long enough to read it in one sitting.  Short book. But packed to the brim with wisdom and insight that I’ve needed to learn.

It’s a keeper. It’s one of those books I’ll end up writing in, with exclamation points, underlining, commenting, question marks, maybe even cross-referencing. No, I won’t be lending out my copy.  Well, maybe, but you’d have to promise not to read all the margins or make any of your own notes.

The book is Anne Lamott’s “Help. Thanks. Wow.  The Three Essential Survival Prayers.”   This one sentence speaks to my current need for brain-power and clarity.

“In paintings, music, poetry, architecture, we feel the elusive energy that moves through us and the air and the ground all the time, that usually disperses and turns chaotic in our busy-ness and distractedness and moodiness.”

Some of the energy I need is in the created world, not just the natural world.  And the energy in that is readily dispersed by my overly scheduled, multi-tasking, transmission-challenged but driven life.

Perhaps if I slow down, notice the beauty around me in the architecture of a wall, the care in the moulding of a door frame, or in the design of a freeway bridge,  I might touch some of that energy.  If I take time to hear the poetry in a song, or the music itself, or actually read a poem, I might connect a loose bulb in my head.  The lights may reignite mentally if I allow myself time to experience art in diverse places and ways.

String Light

String Light (Photo credit: felixtsao)

Energy is captured in the beauty and art in my life, just waiting for me to plug in to that brain enlightening power.

What better time of year than now to look for the light and energy that surrounds us, to gather it in instead of pushing it away. Maybe I can do that.  Maybe I’ll get all my mental light strings lined up and glowing again. I can try.

Categories: Books, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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