Found a quote about Fortitude

asl love hands

(artist and source on the internet unknown. Please leave a comment with information if you know who did this awesome work.)

I just came back from breakfast with a new friend.

I am so thankful to be settling in even further into our new community.

We mostly talked about trying to get into shape so that we can enjoy our respective jobs for as long as possible. Somehow the topic of forgiveness came up though, and I just now found this quote that I had jotted in my “get healthy” journal:

“You will always be
the bread
and

the knife,

not to mention the crystal

and-

somehow-

the wine.”

(by poet Billy Collins.

I made the line breaks up myself – something that is a big no, no in the world of poetry…but in the interest of time…there you go.

p.s. I think when I did research on the poem a while ago I found out that he wrote it either because of a painful divorce, or to make fun of sappy break up poetry that is not good literature. I can’t remember which and my son is currently banging a basketball against the wall, so I’d better not dilly dally at the keyboard.

Why Mr. Collins wrote it and what it meant to him at the time does matter… but I like it today because it reminds me of communion and Catholic prayers about the Communion of the Saints.

And I like cheese, and I like wine.)

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Reflections from an old Zoo Keeper

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More from the book Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond that I finished last weekend:

An elderly zoo keeper to her to the man

she entrusts as an elephant caretaker:

” ‘ I’ve lived a long time, Mr. Brown, longer than most. I should be grateful – indeed, I am grateful. And yet, I would give everything, everything, to do it all again.’ …

Max Biedleman stood sihlouetted in the parlor window, silent. Finally she said, ‘Do you know what I’ve been thinking lately? I’ve been thinking that we’re animals, like any others-we senesce, we sink into decrepitude just as they do. But I’ve wondered if it isn’t our special hell that we are able to register the swift passage of time, the lightening speed of it all, and the absoluteness with which it is gone…

indeed, the world is a finer place

when one sees it from the back of an elephant.‘ “

When Truth is Met by Kindness

knittingYesterday I was trying to make it to after school pick up and a very interesting broadcast came on the radio. I only caught a part of it, so I’d like to archive it HERE to be able to listen to or read the full podcast later.

The broadcast was an interview about memory loss.

I wondered if the show would depress me and I considered changing channels. I’m a sucker for a good radio voice and got hooked on the good neuroscience that was being laid out in regular person words.

I dashed into the library to get what I thought was a large print version of The Sun Also Rises by E. Hemingway. To my delight, I’d also accidentally put a hand-held MP3 player on hold that is loaded with the same book. I almost hugged the librarian. I lost my library whisper manners and sort of gushed that she had made my day.

Here’s why:

The truth is this: I found out last week that there is an increased possibility that I have glaucoma. We find out more during this week to come.

In The World According to Mr. Rogers, Fred reminds us that:

“There is no

normal life

that is free of pain.

It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the

impetus for our growth.”

If by chance I do have glaucoma, and am healthy enough to live to be elderly, I could therefore end up blind in one or both eyes when I am well into my grandmothering years. At a minimum, I have  a worrisome few years ahead as they come up with a plan to convince my eyes to be a more cooperative duo.

This is quite dramatic and scary news, agreed?BBbGXzPCAAACd-4

I have multiple vision issues, so of course the hope is that I only have unique peepers that will always be a pain.

“Debbie Downer” that I often am, I’ve been trying hard to reframe my thinking and am trying to focus on the good news that the “all that” and inexpensive eyeglass frames I found last week will rock my world.

About the radio interview: still stoked on a successful half an hour of flopping back and forth in a swimming lane at the Y, back to the van I went with my library goodies. I was excited to report my gadget findings to the friend who recommended the Hemingway book.

Thankfully, that library chore gave me exactly twelve minuteslaundry of pretending that having crappy eyesight that may become UltraCrappy, is just a day in the life.

Those of you on the genetically and fervently pessimistic side of my universe should be proud that I reframed my thinking for even that quarter of an hour. Get this though:

I had five more minutes to kill and turned the radio back on, only to hear a man who just last week was diagnosed with some sort of memory affliction. He was crying uncontrollably. He was loving, and intelligent, and, devastated by this reality, even in its infant stage. He was due to find out more about his test results this week, and I am due to find out more about my test results this week. Since the show was live, I find that interesting.The angst he was crying about wasn’t over himself at all; it was guilt.

He was crying because he might miss out on his golden years, but more so because he didn’t want to confuse or harm his young grandchildren if and when he can’t see them any longer in his own mind’s eye.

What a beautiful man, and a three star grandpa to even think of these things despite, and in the midst of his own impending loss.

“Last month a thirteen-year-old boy abducted an eight-year-old girl; and when people asked him why, he said he learned about it on TV.

 

‘Something different to try’ he said. ‘Life’s cheap; what does it matter?’

 

Well, life isn’t cheap.

 

It’s the greatest mystery of any millennium…

But how do we made our goodness attractive?

By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own.”

~ Fred Rogers

So, thankfully, kindness and truth met in that fortunate five minutes before I barreled down the city streets to gather my son. The courageous confession of guilt on the radio, even if a projected reality, made me feel less alone in my worries. Even if we work to be the most gracious and diligent patients in the world, there is no way at all to predict how able we will be to manage the impact of our illness on our relationships.

If we can’t predict the illness, how could we possibly predict the impact on our family or our ability to maintain healthy relationships?

sniksjoe25

I really, really value that this sweet man followed his heart and just put his pain and sadness out there for millions of us to hear and feel along with him. My hope is that he is rewarded by good news from his care team, and reassurance from his family that they will not abandon him when the time comes that it is him that needs company, rather than the other way around.

When I woke a few minutes ago, anxious to finish this post, this song came to mind (click here) and I’m hoping that I can have even a portion of the brave attitude that I heard from this gentleman who adores his grandchildren with such intensity.

Prayers for a good week to come for all of us,

Kate