Friday, November 23, 2012

Making the Next Move

Game’s Up…

You think you’ve got some sort of Monopoly on pain? Let me tell you something: Every one of us owns a little bit of Boardwalk and Park Place. Only you can use that “Get Out of Jail Free” card and break the bars of separation.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude in the Face of Loss

Saying Thank You to a Friend

It’s hard to be grateful sometimes. Brat-like, I often want to stomp my feet, spit, and rage at the very unfairness of life. I often want to say, “No thank you. I’ll walk this easier path, the sunlit one with bird song and flowers and butterflies à la Disney before the wicked stepmother or evil fairy shows up. Show up she will, though, in spite of my insistence that the path remain rose-petal-strewn, cloud-free, and scented with every blessing I could ever imagine.
When those dark clouds and evil fairies show up, I want to turn and run in the opposite direction. But it’s blocked—such is life, and I must grit my teeth, steady my nerves, and push forward.
During that push forward, gratitude isn’t often apparent. Some experiences simply demand one foot in front of the other until the journey ends. Other experiences, however, are a chance to transcend whatever life has presented and we’re given a chance to say thank you and walk with gratitude—and more important, love.
My dear sister walks that journey this season of gratitude as she attends to her best friend whose life is ebbing away. It’s heart-wrenching to hear her pain. It breaks me to listen as she steps toward loss. She spends every moment she can with her friend and watches that precious life move toward its end. She does this because of enduring love. She does this because every moment she spends with her friend is a chance to say thank you, to express her deepest gratitude for all her friend has been and continues to be for her.
As my sister looks this loss square in the face day after day, she prays, she comforts, she loves. And all the time, she is whispering, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for this greatest of gifts I have received in being Mary’s friend.”

Thanksgiving, 2011 -- Mary is wearing the orange blouse and my sister is wearing red.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bittersweet November Surprise

Nothing More to Pick

A Conscious Choice to Let Politics and Flowers Be

November is in its early days, but nonetheless has been full of surprises—not all of them sweet. Central Florida folks welcome the relief of a cold front this morning. This resident hopes the air will cool the flames of too-passionate, often misguided debate and commentary (including my own) springing forth from all sides regarding the election. I intend to step away from all things political and focus on the best possible life for myself and those around me. That best life brings me to the dirt, the grit of what sustains everyone, regardless of their preferred color on Electoral College maps.
My personal dirt, like my politics, is a mix, so I’m often surprised at what greets me in the garden. Gardenia blooming season is long past, the scent of the buds and blooms only a faint memory in November. Those memories were stirred awake when I noted a gardenia pressing its bud into bloom this morning. No spring and summer gardenia, this one, it’s cramped in its bud, struggling to open. The petals are tinged brown after the bite of the cooler air. The scent struggles as well, and pressing my face to it, only a trace of sweetness touches my senses. But bloom it does, in spite of its struggle, in spite of the tug of war between hot and cold days in this season. I, too, find myself hot and cold, and wanting to settle into an even temperature.
I am tempted to snip the bud and bring it inside, but like so many other aspects of November, I think it’s best to just let it be.