“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
A week ago, Mom was getting her hip replaced. It was scheduled but she had to go in a few days early due to severe pain – it was actually broken. She’s now recovering in transitional care and getting stronger every day. It hasn’t been the same without her. She’s what makes home, home.
There’s been a lot of in and out the past few weeks with family health issues. Molly and Lily know something is going on. They miss Mom like crazy and the feeling is mutual. Every time they see each other, their eyes light up and smiles extend from ear to ear. Home returns.
“Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold
Yesterday, we went to visit and they were thrilled to see her. We sat outside in the sun just spending time being together. The world was right again. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It amplifies the depth of fondness that’s already rooted and strong.
True friendship draws us out and invites our spirits to rise. It’s good to be home.
“The compulsive need to amass things may be nothing more than a signal of the emptiness of our souls. To work hard, to play well, to enjoy life, to give to others, and to be satisfied with what we may be the only criteria we need to know whether or not we have really succeeded in life.” – Joan Chittister, Essential Writings
No shortcuts, no secrets, nothing really complicated. Go partake in some soul filling each day. Be grateful, go easy, open up. Work, play, enjoy and give.
“Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.” – Arie Pencovici
My niece Jenna graduated from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management today. Next up, law school this Fall. To see the hope, enthusiasm and optimism in these kids’ eyes makes me feel like a kid again. Ready to commence, begin and begin again, to never stop learning, growing, embracing and engaging in each day to the fullest extent.
“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm.” – Aldous Huxley
The past few months has been filled with a lot of challenges, of “real” life. For a few hours today, the roller coaster hit the high point. Instead of lamenting the “reality” that experience brings, I’d rather tell these young people (and not so young people) to never give up or be defined by another, believe AND work for your dreams and let faith, kindness and love to be your GPS through it all. Commence.
“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” – Hippocrates
“Not in achievement, but in endurance, of the human soul, does it show its divine grandeur and its alliance with the infinite.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin
It looks like a resort but it’s actually Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury, Minnesota. Mom’s hip replacement that’s been up and down, left and right finally happened yesterday. When her leg turned purple on Wednesday night, we got her to the hospital where the x-ray and CT scan indicated that the hip was broken. Who knows how long she’s been walking around in sheer pain with a broken hip. A new hip “installed” yesterday. The healing, the restoration begins.
On Thursday, a nurse came in and offered a hand massage to relax her. She spent 20 minutes rubbing oil on her hands and arms in gentle conversation. Healing. While piano music plays in the background, the windows feature a beautiful view of the trees, a walking path and labyrinth. Healing.
Nature, music, art, faith, patience and kindness all promote and propel healing. And we need not wait to land in the hospital to start and foster the healing within ourselves and with others aound us. For when we heal, we move further and deeper into our potential – that which we are called to unfold and share with the world.
“There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.” – Matsuo Basho
“From a little spark may burst a flame.” – Dante Alighieri
Petals burst to full bloom, rain and sun setting the stage
A caterpillar patiently evolves into a butterfly, born again, taking flight
It takes but a moment, a turn, a twist, a push, a pull
Growth, if we allow
Transformation, if we let go
Our story, ever-changing
Turn a page at a time
Write the next sentence, one word, then the next.
“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” – Rabindranath Tagore
After a day of bouncing from one thing to the next, I rushed out of work to get home to cut my own grass and then my parents grass before the rain comes in tonight. Beat the clock before dark sets in, although I’ve been known to finish the grass in the dark. Some creative cut lines show up when morning comes.
Lawn mower starts on second pull, headset on, ready to roll. When I went from the front to the backyard, Molly and Lily were wrestling and having a grand time. I started to laugh as they each positioned to take the other down. Their delight was contagious. It always is. I get into the groove and lighten up a bit.
While it was a good day, my thoughts zoned in on the few difficult moments rather than the majority of good ones. Work thoughts quickly shifted to worries about a slew of family health issues ranging from hips to stage 4 breast cancer.
Amidst the weight of wanting to “fix” all of the health issues and difficult people in one fell swoop, the Beatles song, Let It Be got my attention, drowning out the drowning sound of the lawn mower. “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”
It was just what I needed to hear, really hear. It’s funny, but never accidental, how God softly breaks through at just the right time. Never early, never late. And the message I needed most in a day filled with doing, digging faster and wanting to fix what’s not in my control was to “let it be.”
I got much more than the grass cut tonight for sure. There will be an answer, let it be.
“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” – Eric Hoffer
When life becomes too mechanical, jam the gears. Constant activity lulls us to sleep, going through the motions, getting by and through, drifting along, spinning our wheels and going nowhere. Wake up. Your life is calling and it would like you to fully participate, to be in the game.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” – Meister Eckhart
Awaken all of your senses to see, taste, feel the beauty and simplicity of this very moment, the depth and meaning, no strings attached. The garden of our life blooms with awareness and gratitude. From struggle to struggle, challenge to challenge, life is happening whether we recognize it or not.
Plant seeds of kindness, leave a trail of joy. Breathe in the lilacs bursting with color and fragrance. Allow the awe of the sun dancing through the clouds to get through to your soul. Wonder and delight is all around us. Look up.
“Life is not made up of crises; life is made up of little things we love to ignore in order to get on to the exciting things in life. But God is in the details. God is in what it takes in us to be faithful to them. God is in the routines that make us what we are. The way we do the little things in life is the mark of the bigness of our souls.” – Joan Chittister, Essential Writings
Your smile, your attention, your time to patiently listen can break up the mundane of the day for all paths you cross. Go do little things big today. Cast light now.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa
Molly went in for her spring grooming last week. Lily knew something was up when we were leaving and tried to nose her way out the door with us. The same way Molly does when I take Lily for her allergy appointments. Molly was gone for four hours. When I brought her home, Lily pounced on Molly with elation as if she was gone for four months. Never saying a word, they communicate volumes.
One of my favorite quotes is from St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Our actions – what we do, our follow-through, time and attention offered freely, promises kept, a long gazing look, a smile mean so much more than empty words unfulfilled. It’s a noisy world. Make your actions and words count.
“Life is lived on levels and arrived at in stages.” – Edwin Louis Cole
Life is a mix and often opposites – joy, sorrow; mountains, valleys; excitement, boredom; yin, yang. And each area at different stages and variations, cycles. Some areas are deep in quiet hibernation, some on the edge of budding and some in the brilliance of full bloom.
The full bloom moments pull us through the barren desert, giving hope and proof of our strength and resilience. And we are drawn out into full bloom by soaking up light and letting time do its job.
We never know what someone else is going through. We have the power to add to their burden or lighten the load. Pay attention, ask, listen. Kindness and light can transform twigs to beautiful fragrant flowers. Cast light.
“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller