Cellos Can Bring More Hope

11054444_817268375005618_6549938944609850678_nSo, some my Google searches this past couple of weeks have included words and phrases such as:

  • Boston
  • Cheap travel tips in Boston
  • Whale Watching
  • Meneiers Disease
  • Vertigo
  • How to Use a Paint Roller
  • Painless IT Band Stretches
  • Paint Color Philosophy
  • Yo Yo Ma
  • Jon Stewart
  • How to Write a Mission Statement
  • Is it true that you can pay the State of South Carolina money to have a confederate flag on your license plate?
  • Cute puppies running in circles videos

I’m in the middle of a serious waffle making chore so my thoughts are pretty scattered…but I want to pass on a link to what a minister friend of mine sent this morning: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/18/jon-stewart-charleston-no-jokes_n_7618110.html . Can you imagine the pressure on a Friday morning in America if your job is to preach this coming Sunday? In a Methodist church no less?

Unreal.

I asked a friend who is a professional musician for some good cello music this morning. My ENT wasn’t up for explaining why violin music is starting to cause my skin to crawl. Someone suggest trying cello and it worked. Lower frequency I guess? Who knows. So, on the topic of confederate flags and hypercusis my friend sent me this cello video: https://youtu.be/we2PPUxMMlo .

Amazing. Just four strings.

So. What is on your websearch list?

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Ali Rogers Music/Lyrics: “If I Ever”

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Ali Rogers “If I Ever.”

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ALLI ROGERS

If I Ever Lyrics

I don’t have words to tell you how I’m feeling
I don’t think any language can
At times like these silence is appealing
Somehow I know you understandAnd if I ever lose my hearing
If I ever lose my sight
If all my five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

So this is how it feels to be breathless
When someone walks out of a room
Stay by me, we can be timeless
Less than forever is too soon

And if we ever lose our hearing
If we ever lose our sight
If all our five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

I’ve sorted through every word I know to use
And looked for beauty to define
I haven’t found what I want to say to you
But I’ll try for the rest of my life
Lets try for the rest of our lives

And if we ever lose our hearing
If we ever lose our sight
If all our five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

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Mary Oliver: Wild Geese

 

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver

More on Thorton Wilder and Self Appointed Sins

imageI know nothing,

except what everyone knows –

if there when Grace dances,

I should dance. ~ W.H. Auden

(image above from This Quiet Lady by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrations by Anita Lobel)

Spoiler alert #1: This post is initially about sad stuff.
Spoiler alert #2: Life is being particularly good to me right now, so I’m not sitting down in order to write a “dark night of the soul” blog post.

So, here it is.

I have a friend who is dying of brain cancer.

She is a college friend with whom I’ve kept up only a little bit over the years. Originally, our acquaintance was that we shared a best friend and became housemates at the busiest (and best!) part of my favorite. four years. ever.

Without searching messages, I have to guess that it was a year (or less) ago that this common best friend had to notify me that a grim diagnosis had been given to our former housemate. The news really came out of the blue. Her story is similar to others who have been touched by this shocking form of cancer. Our friend had a headache one day, and a few short months later she is now home saying her last goodbyes to her children and adored husband.

So, when I sat down to write last week, and was imagining K.’s children spending their summer break watching her pass on, Thorton Wilder quotes were a kind of obvious (to me anyway) place of comfort and wisdom for me.

It’s safe to assume that if you are an American following or stopping by my little blog you have seen Thorton’s play Our Town. It is a favorite of High School and Community theaters for a reason.

It has the best theater lines, ever.

I mean – ever.

I am biased and my reasons are of course personal, but I mean it.

I would offer to turn this post into a place of debate or discussion, but I hate debate and my opinion is not up for ransom or reason. I’m not a jerk though, so feel free to leave comments as I am on summer break (wiggles in her seat) and have time for lively discussion.

So.

The conversations between Emily and The Stage Manager (the lead characters of the show) contain the safest and best theater words for me because they remind me of the enchanted parts of my childhood.  My father was an actor, director and teacher and I was his shadow. Literally. As in, Dad couldn’t shake me from his side until my brother broke the rules and taught me how to cross the street alone. At this point I started wandering the streets of our little city and making friends my own age.

So, lucky I am indeed to have shared the stage with my father on the weekend that he retired from his favorite stage. Mind you, these are floorboards that he spent the most time on as a student, theatre professional, husband, and father. He turned 80 this year, so I would guess that time span to be something like 50 or 60 years, give or take a summer season elsewhere here and there.

We were part of a medley of theater scenes during a reunion show, and part of our daughter/father “I love you” ‘s were exchanged in the form of my playing Emily and he the Stage Manager in Wilder’s tender “Good-bye Scene.”

But still – had I been raised by a biologist and my best skill set turned out to be bee-keeping, I would still believe that (with due respect to the Shakespeare) Emily’s good-bye is the most relatable “to be or not to be” string of words out there.

All good theater is good because the script is about life, death, love and hate. Most likely, the writer created an entertaining time travel to all four corners of human experience and wrapped the story up with a bow at the end.

Even good existential shows wrap up at the end – it’s just a tricky “un-bow” kind of curtain call.

What makes the pleading questions that Emily asks of the Stage Manager so perfect is that the joy and pain that she describes can’t be contained by cultural and historical context. Of course her character works well for me because I am a white girl having been raised by a mid-western father, so a white picket fence story is what I know and the life I cherish.

But, context aside, in Our Town, when the character Emily is looking at her life, and struggling with having passed on as a very young woman, her self-doubt and guilt is not about whether or not she raised good children or was a faithful wife.

And. Her anger at the Stage Manager is not that she died young.

She is upset because she missed out. She failed to acknowledge grace as often as she could.

 

And, with the help of the Stage Manager, her self-appointed sins are absolved as he explains that:

she did what she could, with what she had, in the time that she had to do it.395895_10150596300328810_837678809_8894478_1239777666_n

 

All of which to say, I am VERY thankful for an open window this morning, time to reflect and am reminded to not try so hard.

Summer Break is Near. Thank God.

me

Dear Hours that I used to Have to Blog,

It’s been a good, but busy few months. I miss you, and apologize for ignoring you.

Here’s the thing – I’ve been trying to balance an increasing work schedule and am now going back to college.

None the less, it is You (Hours that I used to Have to Blog), my darling, and you alone who was responsible for being able to still my spinning head and heart after our big move to the banks of the Mississippi. Fear not – I remember. And, just like my mom did, I’m saving my favorite other thing for the summers now that my school years are locked and loaded. Her favorite other thing was her garden. Art of course was her favorite thing.

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Now that the moving truck dust has settled, I am clear that learning is my favorite thing.

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And, like my father – solitude is what keeps me sane. So – I’d like to R.S.V.P. a date with you for approximately whenever school is out and before we start our summer of many travels….

It will only be a few weeks for us to enjoy the silence and stillness, but I promise to do my best to listen to you and make the right call.

Rosie Red card

 

Sincerely,

Your friend,

Kate

Photo: Fearless

How timely to find this old post from the fall of 2011. Two years ago, is just a few winks of time for my friend (the mom of this girl) and I. For her though, much growing and changing has happened in the two and 1/2 years that have passed since I asked her if I could use her sweet photo.

Attendance Please

She is clothed in strength and dignity,

she can laugh at the days to come.

Psalm 31: 25

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A Post from Last Summer about Tired Hands

What a lucky couple of finds amongst a shoulder full of Monday confusions.

1: A photo from last fall that I took in the morning, but to me, looks like a setting sun:

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2: A couple of minutes to re-read a poem I found last summer. This summer I am reading the poem from the perspective of an American Sign Language (ASL) student. I hope to reboot my skills in a month or so, and for one reason and another, I re-read this poem from a Jesuit point of view. This time, the speaker in the poem became Jesus, and the hands became those of an ASL interpreter WannaBe.

Here is a link to the poem by Erin Bertram. It’s an encouraging poem. Hope the same is true for you.

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.

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(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.

We Texted: “More Whine! Pass the Cheese!”

breakfast

Here is a paraphrase of some of my online rambled anger to a friend (who is an adoptive mother to a young lady of color) about the “not guilty” verdict for Zimmerman this weekend.

…I’ll get off my soapbox now. Maybe I’d be doing better to continue my devotion to Cheerios and continue to pray by way of singing “row, row, row your boat.”

While my dogs were taking me for a walk last night I started to worry a bit about what I may have written in that thread of responses to her tearful reaction to the verdict. My intention was to support her, but I went straight into my particular upset and anger.

I stopped mid park and tried to bring up Facebook on my phone to read what I said, butthe-Muppets-movie-posters-the-muppets-26849004-75-120 sweat and dog tangle kept me on the move.

By the time I got home and tried out the key lime pie (it was only so, so), and got into dry clothes, and took the dogs out…again…and settled onto the couch…the effort to go slowly through the scrolls on my kindle over rulled my need to reconsider if I had said something offensive or hurtful.

Earlier in the day a college roomate made a couple of comments during a fun but chaotic attempt toward texted conversation between her, me and a third best friend. This friend, who is summer traveling, was sorting through some feelings about an early morning conversation. Two different times later in the day, she said to us:

Thank you for listening. I don’t mean to whine.

Which we teased by saying something to the effect of:

More Whine! We miss you! Pass the cheese.BPN2n5-CUAAUZYn 

The interesting part is that, far better than I with my sweaty, dog tangle, pie focused evening goal to permanently plop and give in to my day…she had texted a few times that she already, hours after the uncomfortable conversation, had plans to revisit what had been said and ask for clarification. She also had thoughts on how she was going to find a way to tactfully assert a few things of her own so that her recent hard earned confidence is not left unspoken, which could end the visit on a less satisfactory note.

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It didn’t work out to confirm this, but I’d say that all three of us were better able to enjoy our Sunday while our interuppted conversations fizzled out on the liberating note that, now that we have battled our way into 40’s, we each waste far less time worrying about being liked.

And, I am now all the more homesick for both of them, and frustrated at the lack of time and ease to communicate without interupption or distraction. (Insert here sensory illustrations of the smell of sweat and sounds of meatloaf timers going off).

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Yet, I’m waking up this morning feeling like we texted a toast to us and our hard earned, OlderAndWiserThanWeWere approach to our days.

Then again, it is only 7:31 a.m.

 

 We shall see…all manner of things…we shall see….