Sunday, February 28, 2016

Darkness and Light and Stuff

The blooming of my redbud tree is, for me, a personal harbinger of Spring. Always, when I see the blooms, I am reminded of better days to come, and the idea of moving into light and leaving darkness behind. It is a weak metaphor because we can't forever and completely leave the darkness behind. It is in the darkness that the seeds germinate. It is in the night that we rest and recover.
The tree was planted in between two strong and large live oaks. She has to fight not to be consumed by the darkness, and to grow toward the light. The heaviest concentration of blooms is above my head, where the branches have broken through the crowded darkness of the oak limbs.
The blossoms speak to me of tenacity, and courage, and persistence. They remind me to hang in there, to keep on growing.
It's often not easy to break through darkness, or the desire to give up and quit, but I choose to believe there is always hope, and light.

No big lesson here, just a gentle reminder for me.

My husband is doing relatively well with his recovery.

My sister will be needing chemo and possibly radiation.

My nephew is getting married next weekend. I will be acting as photographer. Gulp.

My second nephew and his wife are due to have a baby in March.

I played a singles tennis match today, my first ever, in league play. I'd missed last week and felt like I needed to be there this week. I lost both sets. Badly. But the other woman was a gracious opponent and I'm grateful for that. I plan to do better next weekend.

Good times, hard times, I'm grateful for the light. And occasionally, also for the dark.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Slow and Steady, Grasshopper

It's not easy facing your own mortality. It's not easy facing the mortality of your loved ones. And yet, I've done that, and I'm doing it again, now. 

My sister is facing surgery for colon cancer. 

My husband has had triple bypass surgery. He's doing well, all things considered.

It's far easier being the patient than watching your loved one be the patient.

I did not expect to feel so lost, driving home from the ICU after that first visit. 
I felt like a vessel without a rudder. I still do. 

I got all shook up (and not in a good way). 
I lost so many hours, not knowing quite what to do, or where to be.

I got bogged down in worry and stress and fear.
I lost my present moment while living in an imaginary future.

And then I read this:
"taking even one more breath is a blessing."

And I knew I was reading a fundamental truth.

This "one more breath,"
this present moment,
that is where I need to be.

As I told my sister,
"one step at a time."

As I told my husband,
"you'll get better, a little at a time."

One step at a time,
a little at a time.

I did not tell them
there would be days
that would feel like the proverbial
two steps forward, one step backwards.

Oh, there will be days like that.

But just remember, always,

"taking even one more breath is a blessing."

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Directions of Correction

I'm reading a book that has art assignments at the end of each chapter. As is my pattern, I did the first few assignments, then decided to just read the chapters and get what I could that way. This is done on a cardboard box a friend used to send me a birthday gift. The assignment was to decorate a box to hold the other things we would be doing throughout the book. Harrumph. I think I did three or four more small things before I quit doing the assignments. But part of what I learned from doing this little thing is how it's sometimes fun to do something using less than stellar materials, and without having any aspirations whatsoever of creating a masterpiece. I'm thinking that sometimes, it might be better to do something rather than being paralyzed by the desire for perfection.
Anyway, this is an example of found poetry. I'd cut out the phrases a good while ago, and found them again when I was looking for something to decorate my box. It also helped that I'd recently been working in my art room to clean it up a bit, something I've been intending to do for a very long time (and something I now need to get back to doing). We all know what they say about good intentions.

I have some very wise friends. One said my colors belie the dark sentiment. But I have another friend who often talks about the "direction of correction," and if you are a person who craves time alone, sometimes being left alone can be a good thing. That might be my "direction of correction!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Upon Beginning My 61st Year

A note to my 60th year:

I spent considerable time thinking about what all I'd do for my 60th year. Imagine my consternation when, sometime in October, I realized I'd been living my 60th year all year long and it was almost finished! I had to wrap my head around the fact that come today, February 8, I'd be finishing my 60th year and would be beginning my 61st year! My bad, 60th year. But let me tell you, I really didn't do you too shabby, all things considered.

Want to hear a little of it, 60th year, in no particular order? Here's an incomplete summary, 60th year: I survived chemo! After 5 years of not having a car, I got another car. Her name's Li'l Jade. I got a pair of red cowboy boots. I made prayer flags and gave some away. I made a quilt top (which I still need to finish). I started walking for exercise again. I got afraid to eat and lost a considerable amount of weight. I went to San Antonio to see my blog sister friends. After over 20 years, I began again to play tennis. I made an origami paper crane (and made ne'er another one!). I read a sci-fi book. I went back to swimming lessons. I returned to my spiritual book club.

I continue to learn: to accept myself as the authority on my life and how to live it, that often, in spite of my best fretting, things tend to work out, seemingly little things often mean so much to others, life is not always easy, or fair. I do want to live. Occasionally I've thought I might rather not, but all that changed when colon cancer arrived again. I wanted to survive!

Another thing, which I already knew, I have loved ones and friends who shine much light into my life, particularly when my times seem the darkest.

And now, in beginning my 61st year, my advice to myself is to be steady, stay calm, breathe, look for the joy, and be grateful.