Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cracked Grace: Don't Let "You" Down

Cracked Grace
Don’t Let “You” Down
I made a commitment to someone to have a body of work—writing—completed today. I struggled with the work, but I completed it because I didn’t want to let him down.
At the end of the day, I realized it was more important that I did not let myself down.
In what ways can you honor your commitment to your “self” todayand every day? Don’t let “you” down.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday, This Day, Every Day

Monday—Every Day
Eyes and heart open

I start fresh each (Mon)day.

To-Do List

Today's Plan

Friday, August 29, 2014

No More Stand-Up, Sit-Down Bathroom Dance

The Button
No More Stand Up, Sit Down, Wave My Arms
Thank goodness for the button. I’ve been on a road trip to and from Massachusetts. Heading north was a challenge. A drive that usually takes two days took three. Heading homeward to Florida was a breeze compared to the trip north: It took two days only and we made fun stops at South of the Border and Smith’s Exxon in South Carolina.
Five days on the road meant many visits to gas station and rest stop bathrooms. Adding this trip to the scores I've taken from Massachusetts to Florida and back (with three children in tow), I think I've been in every rest stop bathroom at least once.
A few years ago, I bemoaned the fact that the automatic flush doesn’t always work. I related how I would stand up, sit down, wave my arms, and walk to and from the door—not easy in the space of a stall—to get the light sensor to work. My hilarious experience is noted in an earlier blog post. Thanks to my eldest daughter’s question, of “Why don’t you use the button?” I now know there is a “button.” No more stand up, sit down, wave my arms, dance around the stall. I used that button several times during this last road trip. On reflection, I probably could have used the exercise after all those hours in the car.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cracked Grace: York Peppermint Patties and Depression

Cracked Grace
Fear and Truth
York Peppermint Patties
and Depression
I must become less afraid of alienating people
when I share what’s true for me.

Yesterday was a crappy day. It started out that way and got worse as the hours ticked off. Depression is real. It hurts. Yesterday, I was depressed. My life has changed. My adult daughter and her 18-month-old child have moved in. I love them and want what’s best for them. But my house is not set up for a baby. The cabinet under my kitchen sink is a Superfund Cleanup Site. Glass items beckon throughout the house. Dangerous plants sit waiting to be touched, broken, chewed. I’m adjusting, but it’s taking time.
My work is not satisfying, and it doesn’t pay well. My creative life has been on hold for weeks while I adjust to my real life. Daily rains that cool the heat of Florida summers are a blessing and a trial. Everything grows and it’s too hot to trim, cut, weed.
Chaos reigns. I once thought my house was messy. I was wrong. Set a toddler loose and you relearn messy.
I’m grief-stricken when I see the faces of children in Gaza. I’m grief-stricken when I see the faces of children in Israel. Likewise Iraq, Iran, Syria, Africa, Ukraine, St. Louis. Bombs fall on ISIS and I wonder if it even matters.
The tenant for my house in Massachusetts bought a house and moves in eleven days. Her lease doesn’t expire until January. Surprise!
Basing Too Much on Fear and Money
Social media recently introduced me to a young woman who decided that nothing she did in her life would be based on fear or money. Too many days, I base what I do on fear and money. Yesterday, everything I did was based on fear and money.
Depression is real. It hurts. My throat closed up with the crying lump when I heard that Robin Williams succumbed to depression. It’s real. It hurts. It kills. I spent the last hours of the day yesterday crying off and on, just feeling the pain of the world and feeling the pain of Robin Williams and all those who have depression. Feeling my own pain.
You know it’s been a crappy day when you finally get good news: Poison Control said the jade plant your granddaughter bit into is not toxic.
Depression is real. It hurts. I have it. But I deal with it. I recognize it. I recognized it early on yesterday and I began doing what is necessary to heal it, to soothe the wounds of life and the world. Gentle with myself, I continued through the day and into the evening, knowing that it will pass as it has passed before. Also knowing that if it didn’t pass I would seek assistance. It didn’t come to that.
It was a crappy day and at the end, although still teary-eyed about Robin Williams, ISIS, Gaza, St. Louis, and all the ills of the world, I had hope I would feel better today.
It was a crappy day, and even so, I knew one thing would cheer me. I plopped my sweet granddaughter on my bed. She patted the pillow, beckoning me to sit beside her. She reached toward the afghan at the foot of the bed. I pulled it up and we snuggled beneath it. The best part came next. She pointed to the drawer in my bedside table, and said, “Eat!”
I opened the drawer, got a York Peppermint Patty, opened it, and following our early evening routine, we did indeed, “Eat!”
It was a crappy day, but it ended well. Sometimes that is all we can hope for. Sometimes those bits of grace and York Peppermint Patties are what we need to carry us into the next day and into life.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fear and Truth

Cracked Grace
Fear and Truth

I must become less afraid of alienating people when I share what’s true for me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grappling with Forgiveness

Grappling with Forgiveness
Semi-conscious, eyes not yet open, I was wary of wakefulness. Persistent as my tongue checking a canker sore, my first thoughts zeroed-in on a painful experience from the past. The person’s actions, though long ago and far away, were stuck on instant replay in my psyche. For weeks, I hashed and rehashed events I thought I had released to the farthest regions of my conscious awareness. No longer dulled by the remnants of sleep, “Why don’t you just forgive ________?” I asked.
Forgive and forget, right? I don’t put much store in forgetting the hurts of my life. I put them on a hard-to-reach shelf with the intention of simply letting them lie, and that works with the majority of them. Forgiveness is different. Rarely do I let the most grievous actions simmer undisturbed, so they continue to fester until I’m ready to address them. When it’s particularly difficult to forgive, I often procrastinate on doing the hard work of forgiveness. I answered my own question with, “Not yet.”
Like a mantra, I repeat: Forgiveness is releasing, letting go, moving on, no longer holding someone else—and especially myself—hostage to the pain of the past. Such often-stated words (clichés, even) regarding forgiveness irritate and frustrate me. Forgiveness is not akin to the now-popular but rather blithe (in my opinion) act of choosing a stone and tossing it into a body of water—symbolizing all those clichés regarding forgiveness. “Whee! I’m free!” Not so fast.
Forgiveness also involves a changed, different relationship with the person who dished up your pain. And it takes focused energy and determination to make that change. Toss as many stones as you want, but when you step away from the shore, it will take focused energy and determination to make those relational changes.
It’s the scope of such changed relationships that often holds me back from forgiving. That scope—that new, changed relationship and what it might entail—presents conflicting thoughts and emotions. You can restore a relationship, but that relationship will be different. What you allow in your life and what you refuse to let in must be adjusted in that changed relationship.

Hours after waking, the prospect of forgiveness continued to tug at me. The phrase, “grappling with forgiveness” came to mind. I looked up the definition of a grappling hook to be certain I was grappling: In combat, grappling hooks are used to set off trip-wire-fused land mines. They also are used to locate IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
Grappling hooks are claw-like. They are pointed. They have sharp edges. “These look too menacing,” I decided. “I’m not doing that kind of grappling.” But those hooks also are “used to dredge for submerged objects.” Perhaps I am grappling after all.
In considering an altered relationship post-forgiveness, one must be aware of the land mines and IEDs that threaten the soul. One must consider submerged issues and actions. Grappling it is.
In this grappling, I want to defuse the land mines and IEDs. I want the submerged objects to be excavated and in full view. And I can neither ask nor expect the person whom I forgive to do those things.
I can ask myself to do those things. When I ask, I question what might the future (if any) be of the relationship.
Where might I encounter land mines and IEDs—in public, at places of worship, at social events with friends, on social media, at family gatherings? How will I approach (or avoid) such precarious situations? What can I do—what will I do to make them less precarious? How can I bring a sense of peace and even grace to these areas?
Where and how might I encounter submerged issues that affect the terrain on which I stand? Where and how might I encounter once-submerged issues and actions that no longer are beneath my awareness? When necessary, how will I navigate terrain that requires more sure-footedness than I believe I have?
Each situation requiring or even containing a yearning toward the outstretched heart and hands of forgiveness is unique. Because of that uniqueness, I cannot answer these questions for anyone but myself.
The grappling hook is heavy and the rope holding it grows taut. Weary of grappling with forgiveness, I must ask the hard questions, find the good answers, and then act upon them.