My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
I looked at my calendar for December--not much white space--all the little boxes filled in with something. Commitments, parties, shopping, decorationg. I felt overwhelmed and caught off guard. I thought I had chosen carefully this year--built in margin to create a more relaxed and tranquil holiday season. Yet the configurations on my calendar did not promise peace.
So my task I realized was to cut through the pandemonium. "But how?" I asked. One of my truest ways to cope is writing pages every morning before I start my day. I got the idea from Julia Cameron and her classic book on recovering creativity, The Artist's Way. Often the Morning Pages offer answers to living my life more creatively and sanely. There in those pages I "practice the scales of life," so to speak. I write about daily events and my emotions. There are prayers on the page. I record ideas and dreams. I recall good books I've read--movies that make an impact. The pages are the keyboard, the words the scales, to help me fine tune the melodies of my life and heart. I went to the pages again and looked back. These are a few coping strategies that assist me in cutting through the pandemonium:
My mother had a penchant for the underdog. She could also look profoundly glamourous when she wanted to, but mostly she wore brown rubber flip flops and a pair of my father's green plaid shorts that hit her just above the knee. She said they were the most comfortable thing she owned. Often I'd come home from school, and there she sat swinging her slender, bare leg back and forth, the worn flip flop dangling off her bony but dainty foot. "Put your books down," she'd say. "We're going to see the couple who visited us at church last Sunday." At that point, even at eight, I'd feel ambivalent. My mother had this habit of just popping in on people. Sometimes I'd feel embarassed, because I could sense discomfort when they stood in their doorways trying to hide the fact that the living room was a trainwreck. But my mother in her shorts and bright smile would say, "We were just so happy to see you last week at church. So glad you came. Just wanted to welcome you and invite you back." And almost a hundred percent of the time, those surprised folks would invite us in and offer us a glass of iced tea. Maybe it was the fact that my mother was so unassuming wearing men's shorts and holding her little girl's chubby hand.
The day was mild and blue. A zephyr breeze gusted lightly over our faces. The sun caressed us. Burgandy sequins on my gown glinted in the tranquil light. We celebrated this day. A wedding. My daughter, the bride, was sequestered away in all her finery. The groom stood under the chuppah, smiling and trim, formal and handsome in his tux. Waiting.
I could hear the guests, their voices a melodic murmur as they took their seats in wooden chairs placed on the green. I looked out over the horizon and several boats sailed silently through the cobalt harbor waters. I was an observer in that moment--just listening and watching and feeling as if I might have landed in an enchanted geography--whispers of Narnia. This was a place that simultaneously contained a sense of pleasurable expectation and a delicate feeling of nostalgia.
The story is still asleep. It dreams.~From the movie, Here
Birds on a wire. Their quiet presence often snaps me out of my frenzy of doing. When I see them lined up like lovely, dark punctuation marks, I have this mysterious recognition once again of God's grace--a realization that I am in His care--that sweet spot where I understand that my most diligent assignment is to allow myself to be the focus of His delight.
I walk the several blocks from my place of employment to the hospital where George lies unintelligible and profoundly bruised. I found him days before when his sweet son, my friend, could not reach him by phone. George lay crumpled naked and vulnerable in his bathtub after suffering a stroke. I kneeled by the bathtub and held his hand until the emergency squad arrived. "Help is on the way, Geroge; help is on the way." Tears stream down my face. I can't believe my brilliant friend has met the confluence we all dread--old age and the loss of normalcy.