Here's a great article by blogger buddy Ronni. By great I mean, "my feelings exactly".
Here's a great article by blogger buddy Ronni. By great I mean, "my feelings exactly".
Garrison Keillor shares this interesting little poem this morning. Worth a read - and then another!
by Carl Dennis
Don't be ashamed that your parents
Didn't happen to meet at an art exhibit
Or at a protest against a foreign policy
Based on fear of negotiation,
But in an aisle of a discount drugstore,
Near the antihistamine section,
Seeking relief from the common cold.
You ought to be proud that even there,
Amid coughs and sneezes,
They were able to peer beneath
The veil of pointless happenstance.
Here is someone, each thought,
Able to laugh at the indignities
That flesh is heir to. Here
Is a person one might care about.
Not love at first sight, but the will
To be ready to endorse the feeling
Should it arise. Had they waited
For settings more promising,
You wouldn't be here,
Wishing things were different.
Why not delight at how young they were
When they made the most of their chances,
How young still, a little later,
When they bought a double plot
At the cemetery. Look at you,
Twice as old now as they were
When they made arrangements,
And still you're thinking of moving on,
Of finding a town with a climate
Friendlier to your many talents.
Don't be ashamed of the homely thought
That whatever you might do elsewhere,
In the time remaining, you might do here
If you can resolve, at last, to pay attention.
"Drugstore" by Carl Dennis, from Callings. © Penguin Poets, 2010. Reprinted with permission.
We live in a life-care community that features independent living, meaning that we live in a Casita, a free-standing very nice home that is almost identical to what we lived in before - except we don't own it. We have a life-time lease on it - plus all kinds of privileges regarding meals (if we want them), special events, magnificent swimming pool and other recreational facilities plus life-care benefits. It is a bit of heaven and costs a tad less than what we used to pay for home ownership and independent living just a few miles away.
One of the nice features that goes along with our community is the worry free maintenance of the property. No lawn to mow, snow to shovel, repairs to make or appliances to repair or replace. It is all taken care of for us.
Why bring all this up? Yesterday we had an interesting experience. Our microwave oven began making strange, groaning sounds. Jo Ann made a call to the front office and reported this (plus a sluggish drain in the bathroom) about 1 PM.
By 4 PM the microwave was replaced with a brand new one and the drain was fixed. No cost. Included in the plan.
We're both extremely pleased as you might imagine. We shake our heads at what we would be going through before we moved to Colonnade some 3 years ago!
"The Last Thing"
Who'd be afraid of death?
I think only fools are.
For it is not
as though this thing were given to one man only,
but all receive it.
The journey that my friend makes,
I can make also.
If I know nothing else,
I know this,
I go where he is.
O Fools, shrinking from this little door,
through which so many kind and lovely souls have passed before you,
will you hang back?
Harder in your case than another?
And too much silence?
Has there not been enough stir here?
for where so much greatness and gentleness
have been already,
you should be glad to follow.
(Discovered in Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir by Stanley Hauerwas, a fine book if there ever was one.)
If I ever do get my video thing going, I think, in memory of Gene Kelly and that mouse - and this fellow dancing all over the world (literally!) - I will get some people dancing.
Ever feel that way?
There are times when you wonder if there remains anything that isn't dysfunctional. Even Jesus wondered that on his personal cross. "My God, My God..." (you remember)
Sometimes a simple poem can catch up what no other word seems to probe in any depth. Garrison Keillor shared one this morning that caught me up - thanks be to God.
Dilapidation "'Thou hast me on the wrack' in various styles" by John Tagliabue. Reprinted with permission from the autho
'Thou hast me on the wrack' in various styles
is only natural, not too natural
and so a little shaking and stumbling and
is natural, the world itself is shaking a bit
will be forgetting all of its Myths which C.G. Jung
and Joseph Campbell
and Others got so hot about. Snake Goddesses.
Virgin Mary. And
All That. So you can put it in perspective in
a phrase. Nevertheless
the common cold plus all of the aches and sorrows
and sometimes fiercest
pain and loneliness, the loss of one's false teeth, the
forgetting of names of
people in the emotional family come along with the
Morality Figure Dilapidation
and pinch a nerve, bruise and bruise and bruise a life
unto the Holy Ghost, unto the Need to say Good-bye Good-bye
put me to bed.
"'Thou hast me on the wrack' in various styles" by John Tagliabue. Reprinted with permission from the autho
I'm not sure why people ask me about the secrets of happy retirement. Probably because of my former occupation which supposedly qualifies me as a bona fide "wise man", though, if truth be known, I don't know much more than the next guy.
Anyway, I usually give the classic new age reply; "follow your bliss" - but with slightly different wording. Many of my former parishioners advised me during my final year of work, "learn to say "no", then say it. Very good. Very wise. But not always that easy to pull off.
But those are the two principles I have followed in the "golden years". Bliss and thoughtful discipline.
As far as the bliss part is concerned, I have been blessed with several passions that consume my waking moments. Home and family come first, and easily so. Church, of course, remains vital, though I find it easier now to pick and choose when and how I participate. Very nice!
Writing, making pots, cooking good stuff, reading, photography and exercise are consuming passions that jostle each other for a portion of my soul and daily schedule. Not a single one of them fails to create excitement and fascination. They do have to take turns. I'm a bit like a hungry mule standing in a barn between several bales of hay. My chief problem is which bale to nibble on.
As far as the saying "no" is concerned; this is complex. I've never known an activity or a passion yet that didn't want or sometimes demand your whole loyalty. Communities are notorious for claiming to be "family" and setting forth agendas that subtly require one's presence and loyalty. The key guilt producing phrase is "I haven't seen you lately!"
Then, aging itself builds certain demands into one's life. Doctors appointments, forms to be filled out, strategies to be revisited, contacts to be made. Examinations and treatments, of course. Getting old isn't for sissies and one must keep those demands in some kind of balance as well. A huge percentage of one's time can be spent on the whole matter of getting old!
Balancing the positives and negatives. Keeping a sweet spirit while coping with the reality of life's negatives. Living with other people's expectations without losing one's soul. Being able to converse with people without fixating on one's health problems. Staying out of arguments about politics, even when you have strong political leanings. These are just a few of the elder's challenges.
Then, sometimes we just get tired.
Oddly, I've found these days to be the happiest of my lifetime. Appreciating the past, enjoying the present and joyfully anticipating what comes next, whatever that may be - that's the best I can do with the aging riddle.
One of my favorite blogs is Ronni's. This morning she came up with a classic that should give us all something to reflect upon, especially those of us who enjoy being a bit older than most:
Lillian Broderick, facing blindness from macular degeneration wrote: Antonia Woods celebrated “the joy of slowing down” inPersonal Best: The quote is from Saul Friedman and you may find her blog HERE.
“I’m not suffering the ravages of chemotherapy or drifting into the no man’s land of Alzheimer’s. I remind myself of all that remains–Mozart, Bach, the promise of spring in the air, the faces of my children and grandchildren safely lodged in memory, enduring friendships, the companionship of a 56-year-old marriage.”
Once I scrambled up the mountain
Getting to the top my only goal
Now I stop often,
Resting in protected, sunny spots in the cold months
Finding shady rocks with breezes in the summer,
Sacred places where I can sit and watch and wait and listen.
(The book time for this hike is three hours, but my personal best is eight.)
Lillian Broderick, facing blindness from macular degeneration wrote:
Antonia Woods celebrated “the joy of slowing down” inPersonal Best:
The quote is from Saul Friedman and you may find her blog HERE.
2009. Bad year in many ways personal. Lost a son. Lost a dog. Daughter gone.
Still, it was our 60th wonderful year of marriage and today we can't imagine how life could be much better. We go smiling through - regretting the bad things we can't control, celebrating all the rest, looking forward to whatever the future holds for us. We love each other and life as it is.
The best of all; God is with us!
Garrison Keillor adds so much to my daily life through listening and reading his wonderful blog.
Today's was especially poignant and I share a portion of the text with you.
by Anne Porter Nobody in the hospital "Susanna" by Anne Porter, from Living Things: Collected Poems. © Zoland Books, 2006. Reprinted with permission.
Could tell the age
Of the old woman who
Was called Susanna
I knew she spoke some English
And that she was an immigrant
Out of a little country
Trampled by armies
Because she had no visitors
I would stop by to see her
But she was always sleeping
All I could do
Was to get out her comb
And carefully untangle
The tangles in her hair
One day I was beside her
When she woke up
Opening small dark eyes
Of a surprising clearness
She looked at me and said
You want to know the truth?
I answered Yes
She said it's something that
My mother told me
There's not a single inch
Of our whole body
That the Lord does not love
She then went back to sleep.
by Anne Porter
Nobody in the hospital
"Susanna" by Anne Porter, from Living Things: Collected Poems. © Zoland Books, 2006. Reprinted with permission.