Hidden Things

What are the hidden things in my mind and heart? What drives me to do things I do? What prevents me from doing things I want or need to do?

I often seek occupation with a hobby. I have tried to get involved in several different types of arts or crafts. I don’t get much further than buying some supplies. Sometimes, I do a project or two. But, then something will come up and I will have to put the supplies in a box and clear the work area. Nothing more happens. Things stay boxed up until I get rid of them. I seem to associate pursuit of artistic things as with my father’s mental illness. He would often reach for the arts when he became manic. Perhaps that is why I won’t let myself like arts and crafts enough to keep going with something. Perhaps there is some other totally different hidden thing that gets in the way.

I make lists. I have written of this before. I make lists and remake lists. I have lists of things I need to do. Lists of things I like. Lists of chores I need to do regularly. I recently noted in my journal that I feel if I could ever get the list right, or get the right list, my life would be all worked out. Life would not feel so hollow. Not sure if that is the right word. There seems to be something missing in my every day moments.  This compulsive behavior has both good and bad properties. In a sense, I rely on the lists too much. I spend too much time working on them. On the other hand, the lists keep me on course to get chores completed, to keep my nine-to-five job duties prioritized, to keep my home supplied with essentials like milk, eggs and toilet tissue. I don’t know why I list. Fear of forgetting. Struggling to put order to my scattered thoughts. I don’t know why I do this either.

I refuse to ask for help. Not in a stiff-necked way, but in an “I don’t want to trouble anyone with my incompetence” way. If I ever do ask for help, I am usually so far gone I don’t know what to have someone do for me. So, I just don’t ask and give up until I can go again. I let myself go with unmet needs because of this.

I did not learn this from my mother. She was a five-star general at getting people to help her get things done. She did it with love and honesty and great home cooking. “I want to do project X. Y’all come Saturday and I will cook a roast and some beans and make a cake.” She would get everything to do her project and to prepare the meal. Extra hands would help in the kitchen and on the project. We made grand memories in the process.

Why won’t I even ask him for help with simple things that I struggle with? Little chores around the house that I may be behind on or just need to get ahead on. I don’t know about this one. I have realized I never asked my childhood friends about anything either. They were putting on makeup and I was too embarrassed to ask how they managed to apply eyeliner. That sort of thing. I don’t know where they learned things. I just figured I wasn’t clever enough to figure it out and they were.

He gave me a generous gift card for our anniversary. I spent almost all of it on shoes. What I needed was pants. Shoes and purses don’t depend on my size. Most blouses and tops will go from one size to another without much problem. My top half doesn’t change sizes that much when I am thinner. But, my pants size will change if I ever get my diet and exercise going in the right direction. My crazy mind thinks if I buy pants now, I won’t have money to buy smaller pants. Or that it means I am giving up getting fit. Or what? What is the hidden issue here? Why won’t I buy clothes that I really like and want to wear that fit me now?

I wonder at my quirks. I don’t mind having the more harmless ones. I want to know why I do what I do. Why I behave and respond the way I do. What makes me withdraw into myself and not allow others too close. I want to know why so I can undo the more harmful ones. Even knowing why may not help me change things. But, it is a start.  I want to do better for myself so I will have a better starting place to do for others.

I don’t know why I love the full moon so much. I love her rising over the lake. Is it because my grandmother would come to visit when the moon was going to be full just so she could take us down to the lake to see her rise over the water? Did she really time her visits that way or did it just work out that way very often? My mother’s mother is the reason for many of my favorites. Full moons over the water, jungle print fabrics, canna lilies, pampas grass, cemeteries, red “tennie” shoes to name a few.

I went down to see her the other night. I had almost given up when she appeared from behind the low clouds. I still feel excited anticipating her appearance and restless when her light shimmers around me. Restless to walk along quiet, white sand roads, listening to the voices of the past echo through the stories Granny always told me. Laughing and playing. Yes. I do know one certain reason I love the moon. My granny who loved me and understood me so deeply bound me to the full moon rising over the lake by loving me in the beams of light shed from the evening sky. Here is our August moon, Granny.

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Tears

My little nieces came to visit this past weekend. They are wonderful little folks!

But, it is hard on me when they leave. I cry for an hour or so each time they pull out of the drive to go home.

This house is so painfully quiet most of the time. Our own children have been out and on their own for ten years already. He and I ramble around trying to keep up with things.

I miss my children. Yes, I miss the adult children they are now. But, I really miss my little ones. When they were babies and small children and even big children.

I tried to have special times with them every chance I got. I was selfish with them, too. I didn’t let the rest of the world have much of their time until they were too old for me to keep them close.

I suppose I knew even then these days would come. Days when those amazing grown-ups would call me Mother and I would look in wonder at the marvelous people who honor me with that title in their lives. I suppose I knew even then I would forever miss my little ones.

And so I cry because the little ones who come to visit me now will someday be grown-ups and I will miss their little selves.

Such is life. Hurling through time at the speed of love. Life is far too short to be in a hurry. My motto for many years. Better stop and experience this life at this moment. Don’t rush headlong into the future. It doesn’t exist. Only now is real. Only now fills the heart with love. Only now allows memories to build the beautiful life I so long for.

Let my eyes fill with tears and my heart ache only for a moment. Then let the memories sustain me until the next now happens. When I will not rush to do, but pause to be.

 

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The Women

Once again the women gathered. This past weekend my mother’s two sisters, their best friend, and several more of us gathered for dinner and laughs. There were four generations represented. The oldest in their mid-seventies and the youngest at eighteen months.

We ate dessert first. Then after dinner and a lot of talking and laughing, we donned Mardi Gras beads and crazy hats for our group photo. My aunt figures out something silly for us to put on each time for the pictures.

The littlest two girls loved the beads. They loaded all they could around their necks. Our baby girl finally dropped hers down to her ankles and kicked them off!   Big sister’s pile must have weighed half as much as she did!

This is a new ritual for us. My mother’s youngest sister has been diagnoses with Alzheimer’s. One would have to pay attention to realize she is having problems. When we are all together, she laughs and visits right along with us. We will try to get as many laughs and hugs in as we can in the time each of us has left.

What else is there? Love. In the end, that is all that matters. In the end, it is what made us and what sustains us. He is Love. From His Love He created us. Through His Love He saves us. To His Love we will return.

To love and worship Him through Christ. To keep His commandments. To keep His command to love each other. When one really gets to the center of that concept, everything else is a natural outpouring of true love. It is hard to love others. To make our way to true love. It is risky and dangerous to extend the heart and mind to love. To love and be loved.

And so, Lord willing, the women will continue to gather. To love and be loved. To learn to love even more. To teach the little ones how to love and be loved. Just as our mother’s before us taught us to love. In their memory and honor we gather to sustain each other and grow another generation to love and sustain each other.

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Summer

Dog days ease into sultry evenings.

Fire of day tempers into balm of night.

Brilliant blue dotted with blossoms of white

Transform into majestic tones of sky jewels.

Pine scents the heated air.

Katy dids make an evening song.

Mosquito hawks give way to tiny bats.

Another summer day fades.

Already the trees loosen their hold on leaves.

The dry ground and intense heat weakens the will of all creatures, it seems.

Relief is many weeks away.

Nature does not complain for her own comfort.

Nor will I complain for mine.

I will not question or complain about the weather.

A Greater Master controls such things.

The seasons are His.

I simply observe and acknowledge what I perceive.

Such a limited perception is mine.

It is enough, though, to bring me great satisfaction with many things to ponder.

He even let the rain shower come up the hill today.

Exception to the rule.

Unexpected blessing.

Coming from a completely different direction.

Something to reflect deeply upon.

A reminder from Him to me about His blessings.

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Her Wedding

Our beautiful daughter has married her true love in a wonderful event this past Saturday. She combined the old and the new throughout.

The ceremony was held at the more than a century old farmhouse of our friends. We used Skype to connect to Oahu. Our son and our daughter-in-law were able to be with us through the latest satellite technology. Antique chairs combined with iPhones and iPads to have us all together to see them wed. My office mate first mentioned the satellite link up to me. I hadn’t considered it until then.  Her father gave her away while I held the camera for her brother and sister-in-law to watch.

Afterwards, we blended the current idea of cupcakes for the bride’s cake with her grandmother’s cake plate. The table also held her grandmother’s punch bowl set and was laid with the Battenberg lace tablecloth belonging to the same grandmother, my mother.

We indulged in sirloin steak at a table set with even more of her grandmother’s treasures. The tea cups are a collection of my mother’s. We use them every chance we get to have a special event. No two are alike. There are a few dozen in the collection. They always elevate things to something more with their delicate loveliness.

She used the flowers she had arranged for his and my vow renewal last year. She carried the bouquet she had made for me as well.

Her dear friend acted as official photographer for the day. If that wasn’t gift enough, she presented the bride with a handmade quilt sewn by herself and her grandmother.

Old and new. Tradition and modern. Very much like the bride. Understanding and honoring the old ways while expressing her own imagination and creativity in modern ways.

The local restaurant we used for the reception is owned and operated by a wonderful couple. He makes trademark cinnamon rolls as lagniappe occasionally for diners. We were generously provided more than we could possibly eat! The guests were thrilled with the take out boxes of cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, mints, and chocolate cake.

We wished the bride and groom away with traditional rice. They flew out to Maui the next afternoon. They are there now and will join her brother and sister-in-law on Oahu in a few days. Yes, there is a tropical system headed toward them. Prayerfully, it will pass far enough north to not interfere with the honeymooners’ plans!