Intimate Love Can Require Extraordinary Courage

This morning I came across something quite beautiful that was posted on Face Book. Rosa Lee Timm, an outstanding Deaf actress, posted a clip of a wedding. This clip was of the vows that a woman wrote for her soon to be husband and it was incredible. Unfortunately there aren’t any closed captions for this clip that has gone viral on the internet. In Rosa’s comment in the status box above the clip that she shared she explained that she doesn’t know what this woman was saying – but that it certainly looked like a powerful message based on her husband’s reaction. She commented how she admired the beautiful and massive hairstyle of the bride, and I agree! It’s dynamite! Feel free to see for yourself by giving this great looking couple a gander. Back in the day, if I had known about flower covered archways I might have put more eggs in that basket – this one is beautiful! So – the film shows an extraordinary to look at couple who generously share parts of their unique wedding online. What the bride says is about far more than young love though – it was about the reality that accepting life’s greatest experiences often requires an extraordinary amount of courage to endure the worst patches as well. One doesn’t have to be Christian, as she is, to know this to be true. It’s a universal thing – if we are going to experience even a slice of a full life we need to dare to leap, and experience fall, after fall after fall. And intimate relationships are the messiest and most wonderful experience of all: Marriage, parenting, grand kids, nieces nephews, friendship, siblings, pets – it’s all a gamble. Anyway – I enjoyed knowing that I’m not the only relational chicken-sh*t on the planet and the video warmed my heart. BBbGXzPCAAACd-4For those who can’t hear what she said, this is some of what I jotted down from the video: “…sitting with this piece I wrote called “I Waited for You” I realized that you are my sequel. You are what I asked for, and I will be content with whatever the will of God is, and He chose somebody strong enough to deal with me…. I waited for you. Did you know that I’m not her and that I partially agreed to the wait because I didn’t believe that you existed in the first place? But in the slight, rare possibility that you did, you would definitely not want me, because I’m not her. …I choke on words like ‘want’ and ‘need’…I am the one that fairy tales tell you to stay away from. I was never Cinderella…I was never the Princess. I was the fire breathing dragon…yet you chose to knock on the door of this castle: my heart….unaware that an invisible fortress had been built, due to much more experienced pain than a sting… I was in a relationship with pain…and I loved him but I hated him, because pain had been faithful for years... beauty to me was incomplete…there was no heart in the house tonight.. nights like this I would wish and pray ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, please allow the clouds to gather and the sky to to turn to gray, lead us not into temptation…Oh how I wish that it would rain so that when I look into the sky I can see my reflection’. …(after I met you) I stepped out into the sun. He is the one that knows me. He knows me. He has the ability to foresee and He still loves me. So, I stepped outside…only to see you outside my door and I was terrified… Why couldn’t I believe that your hand placed gently on the back of my neck calms me. I hate the way my heart became a defiant teenager. I got tired of the fight and decided to prove to you that you too would leave…I kept asking myself ‘who are you’ while climbing the attractive Mt. Everest of your mind. I attempted to hike a little higher to take a peek at your soul…your condition of unconditional is where I fell…

your love is too much…

it’s hard to breathe when anyone gets close…stand close and let me inhale your exhale…you collect my tears like wilted, wet bible pages…you remind me that as long as I stay close to Him I’ll never thirst again..

I remember

staring into your eyes for the first time

and it was like

staring into the back of the moon,

only to find out that IT shines too.

You are patience like a tailored suit…we are not Romeo and Juliet…but we too are a beautifully written tragedy…but we will continue and stand in His word and drink Truth… I know they told you ‘good luck’ with her…may the Lord continue to orchestrate this beautiful complex chord progression… today I will let my ‘yes be yes’, and my ‘no be no’, and today my ‘I do’ be ‘I do.’… I vow that I won’t tap out, I won’t give up...I vow not to say things like ‘you complete me’ because you don’t..in Christ I have been made complete…this will be my constant reflection because death on that cross was the greatest display of affection.

I’ve learned that He loved me enough to give me you, and so I vow to you my last breath.”

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About Loud Dishwashers and Quiet Strength

handsigns_K“Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence.” Leonardo da Vinci

 

Well now, I hope that da Vinci is right, because the world around me seems to believe and behave otherwise. If I had time this morning, I would figure out what the sound level of my dishwasher is right now. At the moment, my house is silent other than

1: the dishwasher – a noisy one. Very noisy.

2: my dog Paul and the clinking of his dog tag on my feet. and

3: the pleasant chatter of NPR news which I’ve got at a low-level to keep me company and on task.

I’m pretty sure that I can also hear our dog Lennon chomping on some breakfast as well.

Probably this sound mix seems relaxing to some, boring, or maybe annoying as crap to others. My youngest son LOVES noise – he makes a lot of it, and feels anxious if he’s not surrounded by a clashing mix of various people and media streams. Oh, I think that most of us like the IDEA of silence – and maybe even envy those of us who are quiet and highly sensitive souls. I’ll let you research the statistics yourself, and they certainly are out there. Our world is getting louder. Commercials, radios, classrooms, churches, grocery stores. You name it. All of the day to day places we go to have been proven (in first world type of settings) to be really, really loud anymore. So with that in mind, indulge me as I start sharing some tough crap I’m up against of late.

I can’t be the authority of everything I want to control and change – and I can’t perfectly manage my sound environment – after all, I’m not cloistered and I’ve not yet taken a vow of silence. But I LOVE what Da Vinci says, and I want to switch his quote up to something more personal:

“Nothing can, nor has ever strengthened my authority better than silence.”

And, on the flip side – lore has it that the reason VanGogh cut his ear off is not because he1959461_10153074983048810_36322649183088841_n was insane, it was because he had tinnitus – sound that is not sound. It’s fake noise that is created by the brain of someone who is hard of hearing or deaf. It can be related to a lot of things – injury, stress, a reaction to environmental sound, tight jaw muscles, and from what I can tell – it always involves an out of the norm auditory system or event.

I still don’t know why it is true, but I found out a year ago that my hearing status, for now in one ear, is permanently out of the normal range. That may not sound (pun intended) like a big deal, but it really is. It’s a very big deal for me. What I’m up against isn’t as clear as the typical getting older and starting to hear less clearly.

Strangely enough, it is the symptoms that come with what ever is going on in my auditory system that is, I have to say, kind of maddening at times. And what I have going on isn’t even in the ball park of what many hard of hearing and Deaf folks go through. Thankfully, this isn’t my first unexpected life rodeo ride, so for the most part, it’s not too hard to take in stride. world has ended many times I read this morning that one way to deal with tangled feelings from our past is to accept our limitations as deeply and quickly as we can when these limitations become clear. I agree for the most part – I’m a fan of facing the truth, even when it sucks.

So, in a few weeks if at my 6 month hearing test the truth is that my hearing status is the same mild and mysterious scenario, my body is still going to keep telling me: things just are not right. If the ENT is dismissive and says again, “we don’t know what’s going on, there is nothing we can do yet, come back in another six months,” how should I respond?

The discomfort of constant ear pressure and the annoyance of mild tinnitus that I deal with 24/7, again, is nothing compared to many others. I am getting to know a lot of great people who have profoundly difficult symptoms such as frequent vertigo or severe tinnitus. Many of them can’t work, and many of them work anyway…how, I’m not yet sure.

I do know this:

I adore American Sign Language (ASL). It’s not just fun (which it is), it’s not just cute (which it can be) it IS – well, it is indescribably in written word. Because it’s not – it’s not English, and it isn’t written. It is something that we DO and SEE.

It is the BEST language ever, and I would say the same if my hearing was top notch. It conveys feeling, thought, time, time, space, story, history, and details in a way that no other language will ever be able to do.

So, “God willing, if the creek don’t flood,” hopefully between now and mid-April,  I will have the courage to face this ongoing physical limitation by allowing myself to reflect on these difficult questions and not feel ashamed of the resulting fears and anxieties that are about as normal as normal can be.

I’m out of time and brain juice to figure out a way to transition what I’m saying to a recommendation to read these two articles from a friend – so I’ll just add them as a Post Script here. They are all about the topic of this blog: grace.

Take care, and be warm, Kate

10429303_10153075073858810_8420602525960782671_nStaying open to Grace: http://wp.me/p3gSTz-T2

When ‘Happily Ever After’ Meets Life’s Hardships: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/when-happily-ever-after-meets-lifes-hardships/

A Super Duper Beautiful poem: http://youtu.be/9GdawG7CBNo

 

 

 

Anne Lamott on Praying for Spiritual Signs

fallRecently I’ve been enjoying this song by Colbie Callait.

And, this morning I stumbled on an interesting Facebook Post from Anne Lamott. I think it fits with the month of remembrances and thanksgiving.

She wrote it on August 9, Just last summer.

I love the idea of God’s grace being available in an ATM.

Every morning these days, you have to ask yourself, What the hell IS it all about, Alfie? Or you pray for a sign that you absolutely cannot miss or misinterpret, the tiniest hint of direction and assurance.

Well? I got one.

It has been one of the worst week in years, and that’s saying something. You know exactly what I’m talking about, no matter how much you love your life and your pit crew; no matter how hard you strive to present a good face. It is so hard here. It’s like Old Yeller meets the Hunger Games; plus the parking is terrible.

Under the best circumstances, we are a nutty and sometimes violent species, on an extremely dangerous piece of land.

But one of the saddest things happened. We had to put my darling old dog Lily down. She died peacefully at home in my son Sam’s arms on Wednesday.

I think she was the closest I’ll come, on this side of eternity, to experiencing the direct love of the divine. You may know the feeling.

Through this love, Sam and I came through. We cried a lot, but agreed to let our hearts stay broken for a while, because that is how light, grace and healing can get in, through the armor.

The next morning, I took Lily’s beloved ne’er-do-well husband Bodhi for a walk. I adore him, but he has tiny mental issues, such as aggression, and having eaten entire chickens, and 24 muffins once. Then, too sad to stay at home without Lily, we went out for a bite.

After eating sandwiches in the car, we headed home. I was disoriented, and so far behind on my daily life, after a month of Lily in decline, that Sam frequently consults A Place for Mom online. But a block from home, I got that Holy Spirit nudge, a tug on my sleeve, which urged me, as it often does, “Stop.” It’s given up on nuance.

They say that when all else fails, follow instructions. The nudge on my heart said, “Go to your friend’s kid’s school.” So I said, “Okay,” the fourth great prayer.

My closest friend’s child, who has been through the ringer, the On Beyond Zebra ringer, starts kindergarten soon, but the friend has been on Total Fucking Overwhelm (TF0). She has not entirely gotten him enrolled, and the school’s website had conflicting info on how to do this. And, of course, no one is in the office, because it is August, which was one of the two biggest mistakes God made–August, and snakes. So we drove to the school.

There was one car in the parking lot and a woman climbing into it. Then some janitors ran into view and called to her–had she locked their lunches in the office? She had–Oops, to quote Rick Perry. So she got out, to unlock the office. I asked if I cd run along beside her, like a little dog, and ask a quick question. “Fire away!” she said. I told her about this boy, and asked all our main questions. She was so helpful. I thanked her, and asked if she worked in the office.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m the new principal.”

Of course she was the new principal, because God is such a show-off. Call this energy the Divine It, or Ed. Whatever works.

“Wow,” I said, bowing my head.

“Look,” she continued, “the easiest thing is probably for me to just give your friend my cell phone number.”

I said, “Okay,” on the verge of laughter and tears. “Thank you.”

Bodhi and I went home and called our friend. “You better sit down,” I told the mom. “I think we got some kind of Inbreaking.”

I told the mom my story, about how we’d somehow ended up at the Grace ATM, and how holy spirit had saved the day.

“Yeah,” she agreed. “Or Lily.”

I gave her the new principal’s cell phone number. Then Bodhi and I went to read the new People, and took a nice morning nap, feeling a little bit better, which is a miracle.
from FB page Suspended Coffees

I Found Great Resources on Guilt vs. Shame

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This is my favorite photo of our dog Paul. Why? Because he is always in trouble, and when I took this he was apologizing.

I don’t remember why my phone was photo ready, but I am certain that he was raising some kind of doggie hell just before I tapped the picture button. The clovers that got stuck in his collar are the clue that he was up to no good in the yard. Right before I plunked into my reading chair to calm myself, I likely stepped onto the back porch and embarrassed my family

again

by forgetting that I live in a city now. Three years later, I sometimes still yell in my farm voice.

That look on the face of Paulie is his “apology face” and it works, of course, every time. He doesn’t try to convince me that he will never do IT again. Our other dog. Lennon Francis (Lenny) cowers, and hides and shivers when he is in trouble until the issue passes. His way of apologizing is to drop a ball or chewed up play toy at me feet and then step back and sit down. It’s like he’s saying, “seriously mom, we both need a round of fetch to resolve this tension.”

Paul McCartney on the other hand, manages to make me stop shaming him by insisting that I NEED him, and I need him right now! Right here. On my lap, in my arms, or his favorite – like an infant resting his head on my shoulder.

Isn’t shame an interesting topic?

If  you don’t agree, you should.

JeezlePete. I did it again. Shame on me.

I have had some really great things happen this summer, but right now near the top of the list is reconnecting with my friend Therese Borchard. She is so funny. We hadn’t had a private chat online in a long while and for some reason time alllowed for that to happen more than once over this school break.

It’s interesting – she and I share a birthday and when we lose touch and reconnect a little bit, it’s pretty common that similar things are on our minds. I really appreciate that she passed on some facinating resources in between our twisted and humorous conversations.

I’ve mentioned here a couple of times, I think, that last year I started my studies to become an Educational Sign Language Interpreter. Well, this year I am able to move ahead with three classes and I am so excited. The frustrating and disappointing thing is that I had to turn down a great offer to continue working at the school I enjoyed so much last year. My classes will be during the day.

Backer to my writer friend Therese: here’s the short version of what we are connecting about right now and are both sort of, well, tearfully even, thankful about: we are a little bit stuck on the topic of shame and redemption.

I know. Strange. Isn’t it? I envy the the people that start their break with plans to be light hearted and and keep up with that commitment.

I promise that I started the summer with three goals: lose twenty pounds, create a kitchen that looks like this:

long range kitchen color planand stop obsessing about the topic of shame.

I did clean out the cabinets, and I am still obsessed about the topics of shame and redemption – but it is in a super charged and good way now!

Through conversation with my college roomate and writer friend, along with gathering some books, I sort of clarified why I was so angry during that first year and a half back in the work world. I had taken a much longer than I should have sebatical.

I’m not the only on that was, and still is enraged about the Sandy Hook massacre. But, for me, the impact was to realize that realistically, people my age don’t have forever to enjoy their careers. Maybe that’s why it is common to start one, or restart one at age 50 – which is what I’m doing.

And pardon my french, but I am thouroughly pissed at what the world has become while I was home loading the wood stove and packing the moving boxes and discovering the great Mississipi river.

Thank God I re-stumbled onto to my mental health and spirituatlity writer friend and now have some resources to try and understand and cope with how obessesd society has become with shaming and blaming each other. The first thing I learned is that what is most destructive, is that we, America espeically, are keeping our worries and secrets private and losing our sense of place and self.

How in the world did this happen? Is it because of social networking? Global warming? The Berlin Wall? The death of Fred Rogers?

I don’t know – but it was a huge shock to me when returning to the classroom and teacher lounge after a fiver year or so break,

yet, I have never been so thankful for work in my life.

My confidence is slowly regaining it’s speed and my faith life has taken off again. My family of course means the most to me, but I am also the one who was lucky enough to hold a hungry first grader who was throwing a crying fit about sounding out a WHOLE page of reading After I convinced him that sitting in the hallway with me is the most boring idea ever and that carpet time is the Bees Knees, I ended up being the lucky one. I get to remember that In grade one my belly was always full enough and I spent hours watching Fred from Dad’s lap. And while I sorely miss to my sons…those were good days indeed.

But you know what? The world has gone mad.

 

We are shaming this fantastically charming little generation of readers in epic proportion and I will not put up with it another minute.

Someone, somehow, somewhere – decided that name calling is no big deal.

Well, guess what.

It is. And the last thing that these teachers and students need, in the face of gun violence and hatred, is more wasted time on tattling and idioticTom Foolery.

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If you are feeling frustrated on similar topics here is a video, and here is a **killer good** article, and here is a song. Each of them have helped to calm me down while I try to sort all of this out.

By the way – isn’t that tin of buttons that my friend Marti made the coolest rainbow you have seen since yesterday?

I do like buttons.

 

Last Spring I Became Smitten, and Was Forced into Happiness

Aside

1452562_10152012126498810_283704191_n (1)Did you read the snippet I found on the internet yesterday?

I put it in this post:

Does Change Have to Happen All at Once?

How does change look in your world? This is a topic that my husband and I have always differed on.

Actually. I drive him kind of crazy.

I say no, all at once can be good…but not as a rule.

He says  yes, all at once is the rule…and is good.

Another difference between us is reflected in my unwillingness to talk about this or to have a debate.

I don’t care. Seriously. I have other fish to fry at the moment. If sweeping change is what floats your boat, then keep on truckin’! Bully for you!

Same token, I’ve done some serious thinking of late and have sobered up to the fact that if I don’t grab these last several “working” years that my body will hopefully give me, I will have missed an awesome boat ride indeed.

When we first moved to Iowa I was certain that I was interested in anything that did not include working in a school. My years as a sub, and various teaching jobs of many sizes and colors never left me disappointed in the magic of children or the power of falling in love with an idea or a letter of the alphabet. (Seriously? You’ve not had a conversation or contemplative moment about the bold roundness of the letter “O”? Odd.)

1477677_10152061644043810_1326140848_nI arrived to our new city life sorely let down by the adult world though and it’s bitter, whining approach to what we as educators should feel lucky to be doing each day.

Iowa being a writing mecca, I wrote. Day after day, blog post after blog post. I read, fed the dogs, wrote, deleted, read, fed the kids, and reread my way into being ready to step out the front door and actually talk to people.

And then there was the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, soon after at a religious temple, and shortly after at Sandy Hook.

I went from afraid, to sad, and continue to feel intensely angry about these events.

During that same time period my family was saying: “You seem bored, how about a job?”

No change.

And, “You seem cranky, how about a job?”

No change.

Then, “We can’t take it any more – get a job!”

As luck would have it – a ruby of a job I landed indeed. I’ll spare you the details of how I stumbled into the one I had in the Spring, and the one that I have now – but lucky I am indeed. And, now I know that the computer dying as the spring blossomed was a gift as well.

I had no time or way of processing how happy I was to be working with the hard of hearing Kindergartener for whom I was a communication coach. Being unhappy became a most boring and lonely consideration. Written, or even spoken words not needed.

480201_10151552955388810_1938698632_nI was trapped, smitten, and humbled by his eyelashes, wit, and ornery moves. And, I’m now eagerly re-enrolled in school to help increase the odds that I can keep on working in a series of best jobs ever.

As my cousin said on the phone the other day, “This is my last job, and I plan to make it the one that is the most fun!”

Does Change Have to Happen All at Once?

Aside

“But Gemma, you could change the world.”

“That should take far more than my power,” I say.

“True. But change needn’t happen all at once. It can be small gestures.”

“Moments. Do you understand?” He’s looking at me differently now, though I cannot say how. I only know I need to look away…

We pass by the pools, where the mud larks sift. And for only a few seconds, I let the magic loose again.

“Oi! By all the saints!” a boy cries from the river.

“Gone off the dock?” an old woman calls. The mud larks break into cackles.

“‘S not a rock!” he shouts. He races out of the fog, cradling something in his palm.

Curiosity gets the better of the others. They crowd about trying to see. In his palm is a smattering of rubies. “We’re rich mates! It’s a hot bath and a full belly for every one of us!”

Kartik eyes me suspiciously. “That was a strange stroke of good fortune.”

“Yes it was.”

“I don’t suppose that was your doing.”

“I’m not sure I don’t know what you mean,” I say.

And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”
―     Libba Bray,     The Sweet Far Thing

 

 

 

I Will Be Seeing Birds this Weekend. You?

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(I found this on Pintrest, not managing to find a link to the artist)

My friend and I are celebrating her birthday today. We’ve just now decided that our party needs to become a weekend long event. Originally, my idea was that we would go for a walk in our respected cities at some point today, July the 19th. I thought we could then report back to each other. Last week I got confused about which Friday of this month is her “real” birthday, and this gave me an extra week to look forward to the event.

Then, while cleaning out and reorganizing our small home office, I found two empty packages that were addressed to my birthday pal 74695_10151704767788810_1935768133_nand one to a common best friend who is a bird watcher as well. I felt terrible. The package intentions were to make three copies of some great music as a token of my regret that our friend’s brother had died very unexpectedly.

Clearly, I never even sent him a card.

So, on my desk was a sealed and ready to mail birthday card that included a cute cow finger puppet and some raspberry flavored dark chocolate. A sad reminder of the mounting grief of each of our adult lives: the music-less and card-less packages are from, I’d guess, a year ago.

moongazinghairillustration.blogspot

(copyright protected image by Kathy Hare, which can be found on Pintrest or at www.moongazinghareillustration.blogspot.com)

The news is good despite my failed condolence effort. Along with the birthday card, I sent quick and goofy birthday party invitations to both friends inviting them to try and do some birdwatching today as a sort of global birthday effort. I spoke with our friend yesterday when he called confused and said, basically: “Kate…what are the two of you up to now?” and, “you are inviting me to do what? when? are you sure that….”1044995_10151704769978810_2086162894_n

It was great. I’d not heard his voice in well over 25 years and the friendship dynamics are the same as when we were teenagers: he is sweet and a bit wary of our complicated and some times outlandish ideas for a fun time, and she and I just go about our merry way and laugh at what a job it can be at to distract him from his tasks at hand.

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For me, sweet memories of being the age of my young adult sons are experiencing now, is condolence enough. I should be so lucky that, despite the gaping hole of time and life which has kept the three of us from a lazy evening together watching a sunset on Lake Erie, cliff swallows will certainly swarm back to their nest holes this evening. Even better, we each remain nature lovers in our respectively hectic households.

While I am not at all positive that any of our three work and family lives will allow more than a brief stroll, or a few moments of window gazing today,

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I have faith that in her wisdom, the Holy Spirit will interrupt our day, and hopefully weekend, with some lovely and surprising bird sightings, and a moment of laughter to preserve the moment. This I believe.

Reflections from an old Zoo Keeper

Image

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.‘ “

Have you heard singer Kate Rusby? : Underneath the Stars

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Last night, well, actually non stop during the last few months of snatched moments to sit…I keep thinking about our family life eighteen years ago.

And then my heart rate goes up.  I get clogged with thoughts of even the next eighteen days or months to come in our family.

Typically, unless I am listening to a Kate Rusby song, I quickly either

1: yell at the dogs or

2: start to cry or

3: become giddy with pride

 

This is generally followed by something really mature like:

a. misplacing my glasses

                           again.

b. starting a new (full disclosure, perhaps the 10th) calender or to do list which I then of course,

                            misplace.

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  All three of my sons are now,

and were, the kinds of boys who I’d want to hang out with if I’d have met them in a classroom or watched them misbehave at a grocery store.

But, if I had a magic wand, I’d find the words that are impossible to say or write. Words about what a calm and shockingly peaceful July and August I experienced eighteen years ago. It made no sense then, and makes less sense now. I can’t put words to it, and decided last week at the beach to stop fretting over the poems I wrote and subsequently lost ten and fifteen years ago.

They were good words at the time. If they turn up, so they do.

If they don’t…I’ll just find a new rodeo which hasn’t any words that tell.

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Eeyores Advice to the Gloomy: ‘Brains First, and then Hard Work’

I’m not the first one to think this, but let’s pretend, just for the day, that I am the first person to decide that Milne’s World of Pooh is an ode to friendship. I’d like to add though…that it is also all about cherishing quiet, and imagination. Is this not what the world sorely lacks in many of our eyes?

And, the lack of patience in every corner of the kingdom?

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“I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.”
― Sylvia Plath (from Good Reads)

A quick read of some pages of The World of Pooh is helping me process how I feel about reconnecting with some of my best friends of my college years. I can’t decide which Milne character would have been who at the time.

Right now, with no question, I am Eeyore and am quite fine with remaining in that role forever more. If you don’t love and appreciate Eeyore…I ask you to turn your head and go play else where. This kind friend is the Abe Lincoln of the kindly woods of Pooh.

I am no Abe. or Molly Lincoln, but I do continue to plod along. With the gift of modern interventions, I am gratefully stocked with a lighter set of brain games and my load has lightened indeed.

The chapter I just reread is titled:

IN WHICH A house Is Built at Pooh Corner for Eeyore

On this “one day,” Pooh is wandering around as usual looking for someone to hang out with for a bit. Sound like college and young adulthood yet? Yuppers.

So he checked on his fiesty little pal Piglet, “…and the more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn’t there.’ “

Sound like waning connections to old friends because of the busyness of work, family life and “real adulthood?” Yes sirree Bob.

” ‘He’s out,’ said Pooh sadly.”

“That’s what it is. He’s not in.

I shall have to go a fast

Thinking Walk

by myself. Bother!”

whole wrld

My oldest son John, at three against the world.

That’s what two of my college roommates and I miss the most. I don’t even need to text, Facebook, snail mail or tweet to them to inquire: we miss going for walks together to our playground. The pace and stress of college often made no sense to any of the three of us. Nor does the current world of noise and rush make what should be very common sense amidst the buzz that we are plodding through that many years later.

Sadly, the cost of travel and the commodity of time stands in the way of “in real life” connection. Not so sadly, we manage quite well to keep in touch. Never enough, but we try. Not so much in person, yet the genius of the invention of virtual connection provides some fun in between gaps of “real” exchanges of voice and better thought out exchanges such as email or instant messages.

Now: Back to Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore.

In this part of the story, Pooh’s social dilemma increases as he decides to cheer Eeyore with a song and invites Piglet. Piglet is impatient as Pooh drags him through a windstorm to find Eeyore:

‘Pooh,’ he said at last, and a little timidly,

because he didn’t want Pooh to think he was Giving In,

‘I was just wondering.

How would it be if we went home now and

practiced your song,

and then sang it to Eeyore tomorrow -or-or  the next day, when we happen to see him.”

No go. Pooh dragged that poor pig through snow and sleet singing “Tiddley-Pom” the whole way through.

Meanwhile Christopher Robin is trying to talk some sense into Eeyore who won’t leave his “gloomy place” of no cover from the snow storm.

Eeyore justifies to his human friend:

” ‘I don’t know how it is, Christopher Robin,

but with all this snow and one thing and another,

not to mention icicles and such-like,

it isn’t so Hot in my field…In fact Christopher Robin,’

 

he went on in a loud whisper,

 

‘quite-between-ourselves-and-don’t-tell-anybody,

it’s Cold.’

 

‘Oh, Eeyore!’

Now. Here comes that attitude and thought process that I’ve yet to give up, which on one or two occasions, has driven my family to hysterics:

” ‘And I said to myself:

The others will be sorry if I’m getting myself all cold.

They haven’t got Brains, any of them,

only grey fluff

that’s blown into their heads by mistake,

and they don’t

Think.’ “

And on Eeyore discerns and plods about, in a snow storm, thinking about the snow on top of his very back. Meanwhile, not one, not two, but three friends are milling about the woods trying to resolve his gloom by rebuilding his house and trying to lead him to a more comfortable place.

Pope Francis should be proud indeed of the humble scene in which Eeyore returns to the house that he thinks he built:

” ‘ There you are,’ said Piglet.

 

‘Inside as well as outside,’ said Pooh Proudly.

 

‘It’s a remarkable thing,’ he said.

 

‘It is my house, and I built it where I said I did, so the wind must have blown it here.

 

And the wind blew it right over the wood,

and blew it down here,

and here is as good as ever.

 

In fact, better in places.’

 

‘Much better,’ said Pooh and Piglet together.

 

‘It just shows what can be done by taking a little trouble,’ said Eeyore.

 

‘Do you see Pooh? Do you see Piglet?

 

Brains first and then Hard Work.

 

Look at it!

 

That’s the way to build a house,’

 

said Eeyore

proudly.”

I was thankful for my college friends then, but I am more so now. Communication gaps or no, they mean a lot to me.